Par for the course

I think I plugged this once or twice early on, but as I wrote on the subject a couple weeks back I figured I had no shot of winning a Mobbie Award for Best Political Blog or Best News Blog simply because it’s more or less a popularity contest. I have good readership, but not necessarily within the Baltimore Sun‘s primary readership area.

So now that I lowered expectations enough, I found out last night I finished 10th of 14 in Best News Blog (won by Baltimore Brew) and 8th of 18 in the Best Politics Blog (Maryland Reporter came out on top.) Although I cracked the top 5 last year in the latter category, over the years I have generally ended with about the same overall placement I came in this year. Mine was the top finisher outside the I-95 corridor, though, so I’ll take it.

At least I beat out Governor O’Malley.

There were a couple winners in other categories for whom I cast a few votes, most notably Chesapeake Journal in the Lifestyle Blog category and The City That Breeds in Best Humor Account.

But I would like to thank all those who nominated me and took the time to cast a ballot or two my way. I’d be curious, though, to know how this would have turned out if you could have voted for more than one in a category.

In the meantime, I hope those who attended the bash enjoyed the free food. While they were partying I was getting stronger signals that a particular rumor may be true – we’ll know for sure soon enough. Once I find out, you can bet I’ll be analyzing the effects of the change as the days pass. It’s what I do.

It’s election day somewhere

While Maryland statewide voters will have another 52 weeks to wait until their time has come, there are certain Free State towns and cities where the polls are open today. Of course, we also get some spillover from the races down in Virginia, whose voters may well be sick of the campaign Terry McAuliffe has ran against Ken Cuccinelli – a guy who’s actually held elected office and wasn’t rejected by his party’s own voters four years ago.

Obviously the focus in Maryland has been on those municipal elections in Frederick and Annapolis, where a strong crop of Republicans must be scaring those higher up on the food chain:

Decisions are made by those who show up. That is never truer than on Election Day. And in Maryland, people like you have some important decisions to make.

The polls open tomorrow morning, which means it’s time to step up, make a plan for how you’re going vote, and stick to it.

Commit to vote now:

(link redacted)

Barack Obama, if people like me made the decisions in Maryland this state would be far better off – instead, they voted against their best interests and re-elected you. Obviously this is boilerplate since he didn’t know the only election I’m involved in is the one for the Mobbie Awards. And did his people really write “you’re going vote”? Must be taking a break from working on

At least the Red Maryland guys have a clue:

It’s Election Day in Annapolis and Frederick. We’re proud of the hard work our Republican candidates have been doing, and of all the work conservative activists from across Maryland have done to help them on to victory today.

If you live in Annapolis and Frederick; please vote today!

And yes, they have a radio show tonight, expanding Jackie Wellfonder’s normal hourlong show to two hours and taking it on the road.

The state Republican party has made a push in these two cities as well. From Chair Diana Waterman:

If you have some free time, consider making calls on election day to remind voters to go vote! Or help at the polls. I’ll be working a poll in Annapolis from 4 – 8PM.

Want to help tomorrow? Call (410) 989-2095 in Annapolis and (740) 816-1465 in Frederick. Or make calls from home – all you need is a computer and a phone. Click here to find out how to do it! It’s so easy!

In Frederick, we will elect Mayor Randy McClement and Alderman candidates Daniel Cowell, Phil Dacey, Alan Imhoff, Katie Nash, and Dave Schmidt!

In Annapolis, we’re going to shake things up and elect Mike Pantelides as mayor and Alderman candidates Allen Furth, Fred Paone, and James Clenny!

Of course, depending on who wins all these contests it will either be a “bellwether election” or “temper tantrum.” That’s the job of the spinners of the political world who might take a day or two off once the counting ends before firing back up with their thoughts on the 2014 election.

Yes, today ends a chapter in the book of politics, but I’ll be around to start on writing the next one as soon as tomorrow – maybe even this evening after the polls close depending on how much work I get done on other tasks.

The perception of reality

When you think about it, the number of people represented by the Red Maryland poll is generally about 1/10 of 1 percent of the potential Republican electorate in the state. So why do I see e-mails and Facebook messages from the three candidates encouraging me to vote in their poll?

Well, before I answer that question, let me state that as a blogger I understand the reason behind the poll. Truth be told, it’s not necessarily to provide an accurate barometer of the race – it’s to bring eyes and ears to the Red Maryland blog and network, respectively. It’s the reason I’ve done polls, and often I see a bump in the numbers if I put up an interesting horserace. It might even attract a little notice for me outside the blogosphere.

But Lord knows none of us have the scratch to come up with a scientific method of gauging the true snapshot of the electorate – not that it can’t get blown out of the water by potential events anyway – so we do the next best thing. If they have 500 or 600 responses to their poll, well, that means 500 or 600 people read their website over the period in question. (Obviously some read the site without responding to the poll, so in reality they have hundreds more who stop by during the week they have it up.) Same goes for the radio show where the results are revealed. I may be a dumb country hick from the Black Swamp of northwest Ohio, but I can figure out that much about marketing.

So let’s take this e-mail Ron George sent out as one example:

The November Red Maryland Poll is open for the next two days, so please cast your vote for Ron George for Governor. With your help, Ron came in 1st place in the October Poll, and we look forward to winning back to back months.

Not to be outdone, David Craig mentioned via Facebook:

Maryland deserves a leadership team with vast experience and a real record of accomplishments. Please take a moment to show your support for that team by voting for “David Craig” in this month’s Red Maryland Poll.

I haven’t seen anything from Charles Lollar yet, but he and the Red Maryland crew probably aren’t the best of pals right now anyway. Last month he came in just south of “undecided” but he had otherwise polled relatively well there. (Along with “undecided” all three polled in a narrow range between 20 and 30 percent.)

Of course, these aren’t scientific polls so we have no clue how these candidates would do with a “real” electorate. I guess the real value of the poll – as I have said on occasions before, which holds true in this case as well – lies in the poll providing a gauge of passionate supporters. So, at least in October, Ron George had the largest number of passionate supporters, although no one was really short on them overall. Insofar as that polling has shown, it’s been a solid three-way race throughout.

Winning an internet poll may not give you a boost in the real polls but it provides some good press for the winning campaign, so there is that.

Now, speaking of polls, for the fourth time in five years I’ve found myself nominated for a Mobbie Award. (Actually, two.)

I harbor no illusions of winning an award, seeing that it’s essentially a popularity contest and my website is probably not nearly as well-read as some of the others nominated. Let’s face it: a blog discussing Ravens football is going to cream mine in readership and probably voting as well. Even among the nominees in the News Blog and Political Blog categories, I’m sure other contenders have higher traffic (although I enjoyed a somewhat better than average week last week, with nice consistency. Thanks, folks.)

Knowing that, I don’t figure on winning the Reader’s Choice Award. But I don’t want to finish last, either. So if you feel inclined to do so, I would appreciate the support. If you can’t bring yourself to support me, vote for Raging Against the Rhetoric (Jackie Wellfonder’s site) because I nominated her in the political category.

Someone might get the perception I have a halfway-decent website if I happen to win, and who knows? It may attract a couple dozen advertisers and other major sponsors. You can beat the rush, though, and get in on the ground floor – just go here for details.