Maybe sometime I’ll do one of these without the obligatory reference to Dan Bongino (who, even in this post-election hangover is being promoted as a 2014 candidate for governor) but for now I’m content to continue trading on a popular name among conservatives in the state. Call this edition of my occasional digest of quick little takes on news items a version of Murphy’s law – not the familiar old adage, but applicable if you recall that 2010 gubernatorial candidate Brian Murphy was one of Dan’s initial backers. Maybe those of us who supported Murphy realized the guy knew what he was talking about?
Anyway, there was an item I wanted to quote stemming from the immediate reaction to the Great Wipeout of 2012, and it came from Delegate Justin Ready:
In particular, whether we won or lost, I have come to believe that our party and the conservative movement must make some adjustments in the way we communicate with certain voters - particularly those who do not follow the political give-and-take year-round. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh each have around 20 million listeners, but there are more than twice that number of voters that don’t get their information from talk radio. It shouldn’t be a surprise that voters did not know or care about some of the things we all cared about.
Let me be clear - we should absolutely not retreat from our principles of limited government, lower taxes, and respect for life. But we do need to find a better way to present those values in a way that cuts through the soundbite wars and the demonizing we see from the national media. Even FOX News is not much of an ally in getting a clear, coherent message across. It’s something that every Republican elected official and activist must take seriously. (All emphasis in original.)
Well, that’s the goal I’ve had for going on seven years. I’d love to have 20 million readers for my website, too. (Selling a million copies of my book would be a definite plus as well.)
Yet there’s an underlying theme to election coverage which otherwise has the depth of a cookie sheet: the horserace aspect of polling. Certainly I like to use polling as an occasional newsmaker, but we have made the names Rasmussen, Gallup, and Zogby almost as famous as Obama and Romney. But how many people could have stated where (or if) Romney stood for “limited government, lower taxes, and respect for life?” Perhaps aside from the Hannity/Limbaugh axis, most people saw Romney as the one taking away their government check, slashing taxes on just the wealthy, and perpetuating the so-called “war on women.” It was a perception popularized by the dominant media and not countered enough in a world where neighbors don’t talk to neighbors anymore.
We’ll soon see what’s said in the state party echo chamber at the end of this month. But I’m curious to know if the cake will have the correct number, since Change Maryland has grown to 25,000 members. You may recall back in April they celebrated 12,000 with the infamous cake, so this time at Turf Valley they have twice as much to party about.
In the release celebrating the milestone, Change Maryland notes:
The only way to bring about real change in Maryland is to build a coalition of Republicans, Independents, and fiscally conservative and moderate Democrats. That is exactly what Change Maryland has been doing so effectively. It unites people of all parties to work together to bring reform, fiscal responsibility and common sense to Annapolis.
The group now has more than twice as many Facebook followers than the Maryland Democratic and Republican parties combined and more than all the potential statewide candidates added together.
I haven’t asked Larry Hogan this question, but since I know many among his group are fans it’s worth pondering why Change Maryland didn’t take a leadership role in the state’s Congressional races? While the results don’t initially appear to be all that close, would their involvement have moved the needle even a little bit?
In 2010, a simple averaging of the eight Congressional candidates’ share of the vote gives a figure of 35.46%. This time around, we declined to 33.35%. Granted, thanks to redistricting and the turnout of a presidential election vs. a gubernatorial election this is something of an apples vs. oranges comparison but the trend is in the wrong direction. It’s worth noting that the GOP share went up in four districts: the First, where the largest percentage of the state’s Republicans were packed, the Fourth and Seventh, which are majority-minority districts in which Democrats could afford to dilute their vote somewhat, and the Eighth, which along with the First gained a lot of former Sixth District voters which were drawn out of that formerly Republican district. Yet there still wasn’t enough there to unseat the Democratic incumbent.
If Change Maryland is the home of this grand coalition, one would think taking a little more of a leadership role would start tipping some of these districts. Obviously we’ll have the same issue in 2014, with the added complication of a gerrymandered state map as well.
Yet while the conservative cause is licking its wounds, there is a parting on the left as well. Maryland Juice blogger David Moon sent out an e-mail on behalf of the Demand Progress group demanding President Obama not replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department with former Congressman Howard Berman. Why?
…Internet freedom activist group Demand Progress is rallying its members to oppose Berman’s potential appointment: Berman was a leading supporter and architect of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act — which was decried and defeated because of its Internet censorship implications — and would have great influence over global Internet policy if named Secretary of State.
According to Demand Progress executive director David Segal, “It’s outrageous that Berman’s name is even being floated for Secretary of State, where he’d play a key role in developing global Internet policy. He’s made a career of shilling for Hollywood, and Hollywood’s been leading the charge for Internet censorship here at home and abroad — backing SOPA, compelling the government to block access to scores of sites, and even having website owners extradited for posting links to Hollywood movies. It’s clear that other Internet freedom groups and tens of thousands of Internet users would mobilize to oppose his appointment.”
Of course, this group is looking at the problem as one of not being able to see the latest Hollywood movie for free – ironic when Hollywood supplied millions for the Obama campaign – but my perspective is one of maintaining Internet freedom and access for all usages and viewpoints, even ones which aren’t politically correct. However, Demand Progress stops with the civil libertarian side of the equation and doesn’t stop to consider the equally chilling effect internet taxation would have on the World Wide Web. We all know it’s a cash cow that progressives just haven’t quite figured out how to milk for their purposes yet – but that’s not going to stop them from trying.
Speaking of cash cows, now that Obama’s re-elected we’re going to hear more and more about the adoption of a carbon tax. The Competitive Enterprise Institute is suing under the Freedom of Information Act to have over 7,000 e-mails released regarding behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts to make a carbon tax palatable to conservative opposition.
While there’s some aspect of a fishing expedition here, the time it would take to search the e-mail database for the word “carbon” and place the files on disk is rather negligible. But the impact of knowing how the current and future regime is attempting to place their thumb on the scale is significant. The only carbon tax I would support is when the FairTax is paid as part of a purchase of carbon or carbon-based products, and only after the income tax is repealed.
The group also put out a five-minute treatise on economics:
The short film is based on a 1958 essay by Leonard Reed and outlines the complexities of creating a simple product. Imagine this process multiplied to create complex machinery like your car or this laptop I write on, replicated countless times a day. Certainly not all of us manufacture things, but a pencil is also a metaphor for and tool of creativity. Now I create on a laptop, but all that represents is a pencil and eraser in a more technologically advanced form. Imagine if this process came to a halt – would we stop advancing as a global society as well? Just like our certain extinction if the sun ever ceased shining, I suspect our progress would terminate as well.
I think I’ve created enough to bring this treatise to an end, so I’m going to focus my talents on another job and place a wrap on this one. Hope you enjoyed reading.
Matthew Newman at Old Line Elephant has posted the results of a Baltimore Sun/Opinion Works poll which showed three of the four main ballot questions in Maryland within the margin of error. According to Newman, Question 4 (in-state tuition for illegal aliens) is leading 47% for and 45% against, Question 5 (redistricting) has 36% for and 33% against, Question 6 (gay marriage) is 46% for and 47% against, and Question 7 is failing by a 39-54 margin. So it’s all going to depend on turnout.
Newman also notes that the three previously polled questions (4, 5, and 7) have all trended in the right direction, especially Question 6. It was up 10 points a month ago but now trails.
But the accompanying Sun story shows the amount of misinformation still out there. For example, one Question 6 supporter said “the key to her decision to vote yes on Question 6 is ‘the fact that religious personnel are not required to marry people if it is against their beliefs.’” That’s not true, as Section 3 (a) of the law states:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization, association, or society, may not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request for the services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges is related to:
(1) the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs; or
(2) the promotion of marriage through any social or religious programs or services, in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs, unless State or federal funds are received for that specific program or service. (Emphasis mine.)
So regardless of their feelings, the moment a church or religious organization takes a dime of government money they are placed into a position similar to those of religious organizations who don’t want to pay for coverage of birth control.
The Sun also finds a voter misinformed on Question 4:
“…in recent weeks she has moved from undecided to supporting the measure. What she’s learned about the eligibility requirements for in-state tuition has convinced her the program would not be a giveaway to immigrants.
‘It seems like they have to jump through a number of hoops. I’m beginning to lean toward it,’ she said. ‘You have to prove you’ve been contributing toward the system and to me that’s important.‘ (Emphasis mine.)
In truth, the student or family only has to file a return – for all we know, they could squeeze thousands more dollars out of the system by getting money back. So that’s two misinformed voters who potentially are voting the wrong way.
Yet the trends are encouraging, because not only do the voters have the chance to kill off several bad laws but also send a message to the General Assembly that they’ve gone too far in changing the state of Maryland.
The most recent Maryland Poll by Gonzales Research came out on Wednesday, and the results can only be described as disheartening to Maryland conservatives, who have their work cut out for them in the last month of the campaign. (Hat tip to Maryland Reporter for the link.)
First, the terrible topline numbers here in the state:
- President: Barack Obama (D) 55, Mitt Romney (R) 36
- U.S. Senate: Ben Cardin (D) 50, Dan Bongino (R) 22, Rob Sobhani (I) 21
- Question 4 (in-state tuition for illegal aliens): For 58, Against 34
- Question 6 (legalizing gay marriage): For 51, Against 43
- Question 7 (expanding gambling): For 45, Against 46
- President Obama has a 54% favorable rating, with 32% unfavorable
- Vice-President Joe Biden has a 47% favorable rating, with 34% unfavorable
- Mitt Romney has a 35% favorable rating, with 50% unfavorable
- Paul Ryan has a 36% favorable rating, with 38% unfavorable
Gonzales did not poll on Question 5 (redistricting) or any of the Congressional races; in the latter case it’s likely because the sample sizes would be too small for reliable results. 813 self-proclaimed likely voters made up this sample.
One thing I have always liked about the Gonzales surveys is their willingness to provide the actual numbers. Instead of massaging the results to a certain turnout model, the Maryland Poll is set up to reflect the electorate based on party registration – so 56% of the respondents were Democrats, 30% Republicans, and the remainder unaffiliated. This closely matches the state’s current voter registration totals.
Because of that, some trends can be determined. For example, as a percentage fewer Democrats are behind Barack Obama (81%) than Republicans backing Romney (86%). This is because there’s always been a percentage of Democrats in Maryland who are simply registered as Democrats but often vote for Republicans. It’s President Obama’s 88% approval rating among black voters (which matches their lockstep 88% support) that saves his bacon in Maryland.
On the other hand, though, Democrats strongly back political lifer Ben Cardin (74%) while Republicans are just 60% behind Dan Bongino, their U.S. Senate nominee. The presence of onetime Republican-turned-independent Rob Sobhani is all but destroying GOP chances of posting an upset in the race, since Cardin is only at 50 percent. This is because Sobhani is taking more votes away from Bongino (22% of Republicans) than Cardin (16% of Democrats.) More troublesome is that these numbers are undermining Bongino’s stated intention of making inroads into the minority community, because just 8% of black voters support him but 15% back Sobhani, who was born in America but is of Iranian origin.
Meanwhile, the political correctness bug seems to be biting some of the squishier members of the GOP. While the state party has come out against these issues in a broad manner by supporting the idea of “repealing O’Malley’s laws” the Maryland Poll finds 29% of Republicans are for in-state tuition for illegal aliens, 17% support gay marriage, and 35% are in favor of expanding gambling. Could this be the Bradley effect manifested in a different manner? There’s no way to tell.
Overall these numbers are quite disappointing, but the silver lining which exists in them is now we know where to focus our efforts. For one thing, we are close enough on some races that enhancing GOP turnout could turn the election, particularly on Questions 6 and 7.
It’s also important to remember that a number of Congressional races could hinge on turnout as well. Simply based on voter registration numbers it’s clear that Eric Knowles, Faith Loudon, and Frank Mirabile have the steepest uphill battles but there’s more possibility of an upset from Tony O’Donnell, Nancy Jacobs, or Ken Timmerman. Even Roscoe Bartlett could fall into the “upset” category based on the gerrymandering Democrats did to make his seat endangered for Republicans.
There is one other observation regarding the races I need to make. Given the 19-point advantage Barack Obama enjoys here in the formerly Free State, it’s clear he probably won’t be spending any money in the local Baltimore television market. (Washington, D.C. is a different story because Virginia is in play.) Yet that commercial time is being vacuumed up by the millions of dollars both sides are spending on debating Question 7.
Because of that simple fact, it will be harder for those advocating other ballot issues and downticket candidates to afford television time, and that works against both sides equally. This makes the retail and social media campaigns that much more important because one easy outlet is no longer as readily available.
You may ask why I’m so strident on some of these issues. In my case, there’s a lot of areas where they crossed my line in the sand a long time ago and I’m simply fighting a sort of guerrilla war trying to beat things back where I can. But like Benjamin Netanyahu, we need to pull out our red Sharpie and draw our own line this time around because once that’s passed there is no putting the genie back in the bottle.
Once we allow illegal immigrants in-state tuition, the next thing they’ll want is full amnesty and voting rights – never mind they have broken numerous laws by crossing the border (or overstaying their visa) while thousands who try to do things the correct way are denied or face long delays in receiving what’s due for them. Crime is not supposed to pay.
Once we tell Democrats it’s okay to ignore geography and cynically make up Congressional districts which place people with little in common together for base political interests, there’s no telling what other steps they’ll take to dictate what they determine is fair representation. Obviously political affiliation is a fickle standard, but when only 56% of voters are registered Democrat should they have 88% of the Congressional representation? Obviously it could work out that way even if the state was scrupulously and evenly divided based simply on existing geographic lines, equalizing population, and contiguity, but I suspect it would not.
Once we allow gay marriage to pass, then the question becomes what will be legitimized next: plural marriage, marriage between adults and children, or some other bastardization of the concept? Where does the line get drawn? Despite common misguidance, marriage is NOT a right and despite the best efforts of the gay lobby to promote the idea this quest shouldn’t be equated with the civil rights movement of a half-century ago. As this group points out, there are no “gay only” drinking fountains.
Certainly people of any gender can be in a loving relationship with one of their own gender, but as far as the legal concepts of marriage our state already covers it. What was wrong with civil unions? I could live with that as a compromise which preserves, as much as possible in this day and age, the sanctity of marriage.
I’ve seen elections where people down double-digits in polling have come back to win in the last week, and a month is an eternity in political circles. Just a month ago Wendy Rosen was a game but underfunded challenger to Andy Harris until the startling allegation she voted twice in two consecutive elections, and now Democrats are reduced to pinning their hopes on a write-in candidacy. So anything is possible, good or bad.
You know them, you love them…bloggy bits of goodness I expound upon which run from a sentence to a few paragraphs. Here’s my latest batch from a chock-full mailbox all but neglected over the weekend.
Actually, the first item doesn’t come from my mailbox but was shared with me on my Facebook page by Jim Rutledge, who urged me to read and share this piece by Diana West about how we’ll never win if we kowtow to Islamic radicals.
West writes about the saga of Marine Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley, Jr., who was killed in a “green-on-blue” attack last month. Chillingly, Buckley predicted, “one day they are going turn around and turn those weapons on us.” And so they did.
Of course, that leads to the obvious question of why we remain in Afghanistan, which has no clear-cut answer. At this point, it truly makes no difference to the most radical Islamist whether we stay or go as we’re the Great Satan just the same. Right offhand, I have no idea what the body count is on their side, but I’m sure it could be a lot more if we didn’t pull our punches. Once we bombed Tora Bora back to the Stone Age to get Osama bin Laden, but it was a more precise Seal Team Six which sent bin Laden to those 72 virgins, with Obama trying to heist the credit. Certainly there are those Afghans who love the accolades they receive from their comrades when an American is cut down as well.
All in all, the Patton rule still applies: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” Just substitute “religion” for “country” on their part.
Another old saw from the Left is that not throwing money at education produces inferior results. But that theory is debunked by a study recently released by State Budget Solutions. If the liberals’ theory was correct, then states which spent the most per pupil would have the best results – but the numbers suggest otherwise. In announcing the results, SBS noted:
From 2009 to 2011 the national average for state educational spending as a percentage of total spending dropped from 30 percent in 2009 to 29.3 percent in 2011. The top state spenders across all three years were Texas, Vermont and Arkansas, all spending at least 4 percent more than the national average. Michigan made the top five in 2010 and 2011. Virginia earned the #4 and #5 position in 2009 and 2011, respectively.
The states that spent the least as a percentage of total spending during 2009-2011 were Alaska, which came in last all three years, Hawaii and Tennessee. New York and Massachusetts also made the bottom five in 2010 and 2011.
For states that spent the most, only Vermont saw significant results from 2009 to 2011. In fact, four out of the five states spending the most on education failed to produce correspondingly high graduation rates or ACT scores. Arkansas remained in the top five states in spending for all three years, yet Arkansas’ average ACT scores consistently fell below the national average, and continue to decline annually. In 2010 and 2011, Texas ranked first in the nation in spending, 36.9 percent each year, but fell below the national average in graduation and ACT scores.
One can have whatever educational Taj Mahal the taxpayers willingly – or begrudgingly – pay for, and teachers who receive the highest pay around, but if they can’t teach then all the money is essentially wasted. Otherwise, why would bright homeschooled children be the academic leaders of this country?
At this time in the election cycle, endorsements are always news. Recently the Conservative Victory PAC added two new Republican hopefuls to a growing stable of CVPAC-backed candidates as Second District Congressional hopeful Nancy Jacobs and Third District candidate Eric Knowles got the CVPAC blessing.
On Jacobs the group wrote:
CVPAC supports Ms. Jacobs’s education reform agenda, including expansion of Charter Schools in failing school districts, means-tested tax credits for parents with children in religious schools and other private schools, and tax credits for Maryland businesses that invest in schools or hire graduates from local schools.
CVPAC Treasurer Ruth Melson had this to say about Knowles:
Let me tell you why Eric Knowles must be your next United States Congressman from Maryland District 3. Eric knows about defending the United States Constitution against foreign enemies and he will defend it at home the same way; he is a US Air Force veteran. He knows about our terrible economic plight; he works as a bartender talking to regular folks every day. In the United States Congress, he will always represent the interest of Marylanders like you and me. He is not an ivory-tower politician building castles in the air; he is pragmatic. Government, he says, must stay within its constitutionally enumerated powers; government must be rolled back to what we can afford.
Along with U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino, the Conservative Victory PAC has endorsed four of Maryland’s six Republican Congressional challengers: Ken Timmerman, Faith Loudon, Jacobs, and Knowles. I suppose they have a few weeks to add Fifth District challenger Tony O’Donnell and Seventh District aspirant Frank Mirabile to the list.
Bongino, meanwhile, keeps adding to his national profile by getting key endorsements of his own; most recently Lt. Col. Allen West added his vocal support:
The differences cannot be any clearer in the race for United States Senate. Ben Cardin has been an elected official for 45 years and you need to question ‘Is Maryland better off than it was in 1967?’ It is time the people need to elect someone who has some real experience, and that is why I am endorsing Dan Bongino for U.S. Senator for Maryland.
We need someone who has walked a police beat and not someone who all he knows how to do is walk into a chamber and vote aye and nay all day long!
West is a conservative darling who some believed would have been a great VP pick.
On the other hand, “establishment” Republicans may have been enamored with an endorsement closer to home – former Governor Bob Ehrlich:
Dan has the unmatched integrity and unique depth of experience necessary to defeat an entrenched incumbent like Senator Cardin. His background in law enforcement and federal investigations, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen, afford not only a broad overview of the political arena but also personal expertise in job creation, fiscal responsibility, and community involvement.
We cannot continue down the same non-productive road we’ve traveled for the last 45 years. It’s time we elect someone new – someone who can relate to the needs of the average Maryland family. Dan’s message resonates strongly with both Democrats and Republicans alike, and he is the right person at the right time to represent Maryland and shake things up in Washington.
Gee, Bob, that sounds a little bit like your 2010 primary opponent I voted for. While it’s nice to have the endorsement, honestly I’m not sure the Ehrlich name carries the cache it formerly did among rank-and-file Republicans, let alone those who call the TEA Party home. They were more enthused by the Allen West statement, I’m sure.
Speaking of those who have spanked Ehrlich electorally, Martin O’Malley is once again getting beclowned by Larry Hogan and Change Maryland as they point out Maryland’s unemployment rate is rising as the national percentage drops:
Maryland’s unemployment rate inched up to 7.1%, marking months of consecutive upticks since January’s rate of 6.5%, in the latest state employment picture released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The preliminary August numbers show a slight gain in employment due to July numbers that were revised downward by 1,600 jobs. In August, Maryland payrolls increased by 1,400 over July.
The slight change in employment numbers, however, is not enough to lift Maryland out of the doldrums when it comes to competing with neighboring states.
“We are lagging in job growth in the region and are simply not competing with our neighbors,” said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. “This year’s performance on job growth is abysmal as it has been since 2007.”
On a percentage basis of jobs lost, Maryland’s decline of 1.4% since January of 2007 is the second-worst in the region after Delaware.
And Change Maryland had even more fun at O’Malley’s expense, reminding its audience that each and every Republican governor berated by DGA head O’Malley scored higher on job creation than he did:
In recent remarks in Iowa, O’Malley said, “We are the party that grows our economy; they are the party that wrecked our economy.’ This false statement is borne out today in the latest August employment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show Maryland’s loss of nearly 7,000 jobs this year is worse than Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, Texas, New Jersey and Maine. In some cases it is much worse. For example, under Gov. John Kasich, Ohio has created 68,300 jobs this year; Florida Gov. Rick Scott, 50,500 jobs; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 26,200 jobs. So far this year under Gov. Rick Perry, the Lone Star state has created 140,000 more jobs than Maryland, which some have dubbed the “Fee State” as opposed to the official “Free State.”
“Martin O’Malley has no credibility whatsoever talking about jobs,” said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. ”What he can talk about, but chooses not to, are the 24 taxes and fees he has raised since taking office which remove $2.4 billion annually from the pockets of struggling Marylanders.”
I know Jim Pettit doesn’t necessarily write these releases to be laugh-out-loud funny, but when you consider the material he has to work with, you have to laugh to avoid crying – particularly if you still live in Maryland. As I’ve put myself on the record saying, take away the nation’s capital and Maryland is Michigan without all the lakes – or the jobs. (By the way, even that state is creating jobs much faster than Maryland.)
A surefire way to curtail job creation, however, is to overregulate land use to a point where no growth is possible. Whether consciously or not, the effect of new state rules may be the eventual death knell to the Eastern Shore’s economy.
There is an upcoming “Growth Offset Policy Meeting” Thursday morning to discuss these proposals, dryly described as follows:
The meeting will include a presentation by staff from Maryland Department of the Environment about the draft Growth Offset policy and the proposed timeframe for acceptance and implementation of the policy. Following the presentation, the remainder of the meeting is dedicated for a question and answer period. Participants are invited to ask questions and express concerns to staff from Maryland Department of the Environment, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Planning.
The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology is organizing this event and would like to thank the Town Creek Foundaiton (sic) for their generous support which allows the Center this opportunity.
You can register here; it’s no surprise that plenty of seats are still available. I’m sure the Radical Green in this area will take time off their public-sector, taxpayer-funded jobs to try and convince these people that every acre in Wicomico County not already developed needs to return to its pristine, pre-settlement state.
If we were to take a path, I say join the one being blazed by Cecil County and say “to hell with the maps.” If Rick Pollitt wants to do something useful for a change, this is something to consider when you think about how similar Cecil County is in population to Wicomico.
Finally, turning to the national race: there’s a constituency group out there which is always assumed to be a solidly Democratic bloc and that’s the Jewish vote. But according to this ad from the Republican Jewish Coalition, voters are turning away:
Perhaps borne out by this ad, a survey by the American Jewish Council of 254 registered Jewish voters in Florida showed only 69% would vote for Obama. It’s noteworthy the survey was conducted prior to the 9-11-12 Islamic attacks on our embassies in several Middle Eastern countries, most notably Libya. On the other hand, they didn’t ask about the respondents’ 2008 vote so in that respect the survey has limited value – we have no basis of comparison to truly determine a trend.
But another number from the AJC survey serves as a way to tie this post together: 62% of those Jewish voters surveyed either strongly or moderately support U.S. military action against Iran’s nuclear program. 74% of them would support Israel doing the same.
It all comes back to wars and rumors of wars, doesn’t it?
Since it seemed to me to be sort of an unfair fight and a point was made, I closed my poll a couple days early.
It’s obvious that two campaigns have enough supporters (and programming savvy, since I know it can be done) to game the system in such a way that they’ll do well. If this were an actual scientific survey it’s obvious the top two wouldn’t get 98% of the vote as they did.
But here’s how this poll turned out:
- David Craig – 2,153 (52.95%)
- Larry Hogan – 1,831 (45.03%)
- Brian Murphy – 29 (0.71%)
- Bob Ehrlich – 15 (0.37%)
- Charles Lollar – 15 (0.37%)
- Marty Madden – 9 (0.22%)
- Blaine Young – 5 (0.12%)
- Pat McDonough – 3 (0.07%)
- E.J. Pipkin – 3 (0.07%)
- Michael Steele – 3 (0.07%)
Compare this with a straw poll recently done at the Maryland YR Convention, where among those I listed on my ballot David Craig won, but with just 25 percent. He was trailed by Michael Steele with 21%, Larry Hogan at 13%, Blaine Young at 8%, and Charles Lollar and Brian Murphy at 4 percent. Marty Madden and Pat McDonough got no votes.
I suspect that if someone actually did a real, scientific poll with these ten names on it Michael Steele and Bob Ehrlich would be the top two and it would comprise about 50 percent of the vote. That’s simply based on name recognition at this point, and not any substantive discussion of issues.
The next tier would feature David Craig, Larry Hogan, and Brian Murphy, and it would get about 30 percent of the vote.
The bottom tier would be led by Young, with McDonough, Pipkin, Lollar, and Madden bringing up the rear.
But neither Ehrlich nor Steele has made any overtures toward running in 2014, and that small 20 percent or so who would like a fourth Ehrlich run are very, very likely to be disappointed. In the meantime, David Craig is all but officially in and has been talking like a candidate for months; meanwhile Larry Hogan has a 12,000-strong Change Maryland group as a possible support base. Brian Murphy obviously has some residual 2010 support to count on as well.
The others have name recognition, but only in one part of the state: Young in the Frederick area, McDonough around Baltimore, Pipkin on the Upper Eastern Shore, Lollar in southern Maryland, and Madden around Howard County. With the exception of Pipkin in 2004, none have embarked formally on the rigors of a statewide race.
Of course, the process is a long way from over since we are still over two years out from the GOP primary, and not everyone mentioned as a hopeful will actually decide to run. My belief is that when all is said and done we will have three and perhaps four viable candidates vying for the nomination, since it’s an open seat. But it’s obvious which ones are trying to put their name into circulation as a front-runner.
Since I’ve covered a lot of news over the last few days, I’m going to take a bit of a break tonight and put up two polls for your consideration. (That and I’m a curious sort anyway.)
If this were the regular fall campaign, the point at which we sit would be analogous to late September. A lot of time and effort has been invested so far, but anything can happen. So I want to see where my readers think things are.
I’ll be back in the swing tomorrow with some interesting news.
Update: I knew I forgot to do something. Now it’s a little more legit, since I honestly don’t think Dan Bongino would get over 99% of the votes. See what happens when you’re creating a poll while half-asleep?
As you likely know, this is the post where I pick out a few items worth a paragraph or three but not a full post. So here goes.
Polling is in the news these days – sometimes as a real reflection of the political scene, and sometimes just to make news and push a particular agenda. There are two recent polls which I believe reflect the latter.
I’m usually not too trusting of polls in which I can’t find a political or geographical breakdown, and a recent Washington Post poll fits this bill. Taken simply as a sample of 1,064 adults in Maryland, the Post poll gives Martin O’Malley a 55% approval vs. 36% disapproval – compare that to the 53-40 split in the recent Gonzales Poll, which I can easily ascertain subgroups and methodology in. Other disagreements: a 50-44 split in favor of gay marriage on the Post poll vs. a 49-47 split in favor on Gonzales and the “key issue” question: the economy was the top choice of 49% in Gonzales but only 32% on the Post poll.
Without seeing the methodology besides the sample size, my guess is that the local Washington D.C. area was oversampled by the Post. Obviously the economy is better there than in some other portions of the state, and since the area is more liberal than the rest of the state (hard to believe, but true) the other numbers seem to point in that direction as well.
As I’ve said from time to time on this forum and others, Maryland is the first place (besides, to a limited extent, my college alma mater) where I lived by choice. And the main reasons I moved here, as opposed to other prospective places where I could have worked like Jacksonville, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, were the somewhat rural setting and the idea that this area had plenty of room for growth. Needless to say, when compared to those urban areas, Salisbury was by far the smallest location I considered.
There are serious economic handicaps about living here which have always existed more or less, but at the time of my arrival they were held somewhat in check by the state government in place in the fall of 2004. Sure, Bob Ehrlich was no doctrinaire conservative but most of his ideas for revenue enhancement were limited to increasing user fees, and Maryland participated fully in the national economic boom which was taking place during the Ehrlich era here. Unemployment for the state was just 4.4% when Ehrlich took office and 3.6% when he left – the rate never exceeded 4.6% during his tenure. Obviously things are different now, and Maryland reflects the national situation in that respect. Oddly enough, though, the other three places I was considering were among the hardest hit by the recession, so while Salisbury never quite reached that exhilarating height this fact made the low point easier to handle.
Someone finally uncrowned Ridgely Griffith and afterthegoldrush.
Until late Sunday afternoon it looked like the music-based website would cruise to its third straight title in my Best Local Blog contest. But supporters of Delmarva Progressive dropped well over a half-thousand votes on the poll and enabled that site to snatch away the victory.
With a record 1,001 votes cast, the results came in as follows:
- Delmarva Progressive, 788 votes (78.7%)
- afterthegoldrush, 205 votes (20.5%)
- Chesapeake Journal, 8 votes (0.8%)
Chalk it up as a rare liberal victory about these parts. In fact, the 1,001 votes ended up as a figure just a few tallies higher than the total of all nine preceding rounds (six first-round battles and three semifinals.) It’s a definite surprise given the fact Delmarva Progressive only picked up 10 votes in its semifinal – but it is what it is.
So congratulations to the crew over there for winning the contest, and moreso thanks to all who voted.
Drawing the curtain on this year’s contest does allow me to share a couple other thoughts, though.
First of all, the other day I was speaking to a blogging friend of mine from another part of the state who commented on the lack of websites in her area, particularly in comparison to the number of websites in this region. Obviously many of us deal with politics here but there are a number of other interests represented as well – just look at the contenders I had as evidence. If I were to classify the eighteen websites I selected this year, seven deal mainly with local news, three cover politics, and three could be described as personal journals. There were also blogs which covered sports, local history, music, food, and a fairly miscellaneous site as well. And I’m sure I don’t link to every single local website – there may be another couple hundred out there I don’t know about or just don’t get updated frequently enough for me to link to.
As for the contest itself, I based the original concept on the Mobbies, which is a similar popularity contest among Maryland-based blogs conducted by the Baltimore Sun. For the first two years of the contest’s now-three year run this site was among those nominated in the political category. (The political category disappeared in 2011, swallowed up into the formerly-separated news category.) For a site based on the Eastern Shore, I thought I placed rather respectively when I competed.
In my opinion we have a thriving local blogosphere, but one where civility and useful information is on the endangered list. Maybe a local media outlet needs to step up to the plate and have a contest similar to the Mobbies but concentrating on the Delmarva area. It would be a way to reward worthy websites and encourage the general public to visit them, and perhaps it would be an incentive for others to clean up their act.
Like it or not, the blogosphere is here to stay, and it’s up to all of us to determine its direction. Needless to say, I had my own personal favorites among the eighteen I featured but I left it up to the voters to decide who moved on. There’s a logical next step which should be taken, though, and it should feature those sites Delmarva can be proud of.
Yes, this isn’t a serious, weighty topic, but those of you who are interested will be lapping this up.
For the third year in a row I’ve done a ‘best local blog’ competition for fun and as a way to get a few additional readers during a generally slow news period. Sometimes I get a lot of votes and sometimes just a few make the decision.
Anyway, the winners of my three semi-finals have been determined and will advance to the finals with a winner to be announced on Monday – obviously if you follow the final poll it will be self-evident. But here’s how the three semi-finals went.
My first one was somewhat of a surprise, but not really:
- afterthegoldrush (#5 seed) – 53 votes (71.6%)
- Delmarva Shorebirds Blog (#9 seed) – 20 votes (27.0%)
- Delmar DustPan (#1 seed) – 1 vote (1.4%)
It was a surprise that my #1 seed – which had 367 votes in the first round – only got one vote in the semi-final. But I think I know why it did, because it had a particular website as its opposition. I figured afterthegoldrush would do well, though, since it’s won the first two editions of my contest in 2010 and 2011. And Delmarva Shorebirds Blog was only a #9 seed because it was a wild card – in reality it had the fourth-highest vote total in the first round.
Semifinal #2 was fairly disappointing with the lack of participation. I think it’s because that was conducted over last weekend, when a lot of people were not paying attention because the NFL playoffs were on and the weather was nice:
- Chesapeake Journal (#7 seed) – 7 votes (63.6%)
- Right Coast Conservative (#2 seed) – 4 votes (36.4%)
- Random Thoughts of a Citymouse (#6 seed) – no votes
Honestly, I thought Right Coast Conservative would mop up the competition because it had a first-round vote total far higher than the others. Instead the St. Michael’s-based website moves on to the finals.
The last semifinal was, at least, a little interesting. And it featured yet another (mild) upset:
- Delmarva Progressive (#4 seed) – 10 votes (58.8%)
- The Other Salisbury News (#8 seed) – 4 votes (23.5%)
- Sussex County Angel (#3 seed) – 3 votes (17.7%)
It’s intriguing to me that a left-wing blog won on my right-leaning website, but stranger things have happened.
So on we go to the finals, which will be put up shortly and, because I’ve found weekend polls don’t work so well, will get a few extra days for more opportunities to vote.
Now, the other good news: monoblogue has yet another local sponsor. I’d like to thank local attorney Charles Jannace for jumping on board, and encourage more to do the same. As my readership grows, you may find blog advertising to be an affordable yet effective tool in bringing in business. And only a few spots are left because I’m limiting the number of ads sold here. (Less clutter that way.)
So patronize all my local sponsors and tell others they can help too. As you can see, my rates are very affordable.
Over the holidays I did a little bit of light reading, and while I was doing so it occurred to me that the General Assembly session is sneaking up on us rather quickly. In 2011 that session set the scene for what turned out to be one of our side’s rare successes in Maryland, the petition drive to bring the in-state tuition law for illegal aliens to referendum later this year. It appears that will be on the ballot since CASA de Maryland and other pro-illegal groups are dropping the challenge to the petition signatures and narrowing their focus to whether the referendum itself is legal while simultaneously fundraising to sustain the law at the ballot box.
That fundraising: $10 million. What that means: carpet-bombing the media with images of poor, purportedly law-abiding and successful immigrant families being denied a chance at the American Dream due to racist TEA Partiers who hate all those who look different than they do. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
And this nicely leads me into my main points of this post, which will be the first of a multipart series on what I’m calling the Maryland Model. You see, part of my reading over the holidays was this RedState article on what is called the Colorado Model, which led me to read the original post on this strategy from the Weekly Standard back in 2008. Read those articles (I’ll wait for you) then take a look at how the CASA de Maryland folks are fighting the will of the people here in the Free State.
While they have seven pieces to the puzzle in the RedState article, I’ve consolidated these to what I can call the 4 M’s: money, message, media, and mobilization.
Anyone who’s a political junkie of any sort knows that the presidential winnowing process will begin in Iowa a week from next Tuesday, January 3, 2012. By the end of that day we’ll have some idea of who the Republicans in that state prefer, with the battle then shifting to New Hampshire a week later.
But what if there were a national primary? Well, there is no such thing, but there were two recent straw polls which attempted to widen the focus out a little bit. These polls were conducted by two different groups: one was the Townhall/Hot Air Primary and the other was the Tea Party Straw Poll. I participated in the former but not the latter.
One interesting facet of the Townhall/Hot Air Primary was the opportunity for a “second choice” vote. As we all know, there are times we have to settle for our second choice as Herman Cain supporters are finding out. But I’ll start with their topline results (poll taken December 13-15):
- Newt Gingrich 36.5%
- Mitt Romney 18.8%
- Michele Bachmann 17.7%
- Ron Paul 17.4%
- Rick Perry 9.5%
- Michele Bachmann 25.4%
- Newt Gingrich 20.6%
- Mitt Romney 20.4%
- Rick Perry 18.2%
- Ron Paul 15.4%
There’s more summary here, but I found it fascinating that Bachmann supporters were the most diverse and that those who voted for Ron Paul must not have had a second choice. Jonathan Garthwaite’s article doesn’t mention who those that backed Paul voted in as their alternate selection. Worth noting as well is that Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum weren’t included because they didn’t attain 5% in national polls.
The Tea Party primary had the same frontrunner but also a caveat: four of the seven candidates they polled also participated in a tele-forum held in conjunction with the poll, so results may be a little skewed. I’m denoting forum participants with an asterisk (*).
- Newt Gingrich* 31%
- Michele Bachmann* 28%
- Mitt Romney* 20%
- Rick Santorum* 16%
- Ron Paul 3%
- Rick Perry 2%
- Jon Huntsman 0% (0.34%)
Obviously the poll was very skewed in favor of participants, but one can still make a reasonable assumption that Bachmann and Santorum in particular get a heavy dose of their support from the TEA Party, with Gingrich enjoying a more broad appeal among conservatives at-large. On the other hand, Mitt Romney isn’t making the hearts of the right wing go pitter-patter.
Yet there’s another item one can read between the lines. It seems that every time one turned around, Ron Paul was winning a straw poll someplace. But he didn’t do all that well in these two (granted, he didn’t participate in the call so his numbers would naturally be artificially lower) at a time when he’s supposedly becoming the front-runner in Iowa. We hear about Newt’s campaign “collapsing” but these numbers don’t necessarily bear that theory out either. I know Paul has his passionate supporters but too many find his isolationist foreign policy scary. And the trumpeting of the news that we’re no longer in Iraq may take away the Long War issue from the front burner.
As we have seen over the last several months of this GOP campaign, a week means a lot. Since the voting began in the Townhall/Hot Air Primary we’ve had a GOP debate and the media has trained its heavy fire on Gingrich. It’s no wonder some voters are having second thoughts, although some must be on thoughts six or seven by now. The only candidate still in the running who hasn’t had his day in the sun is Rick Santorum and maybe he’ll peak just in time for Iowa. Stranger things have happened.