Pawlenty vs Hatch update--posted by Tony Garcia on 10/14/2006
It has been a while since I have posted much. The reasons are plenty. I have been swamped with duties for the radio station, new duties at home and new projects in my off-air life. On top of that I have been taking the opportunity to get the radio show ready for the complete formatting overhaul that I have been wanting to do for over a year. In essence, there are a lot of preperatory things going on right now.
However, I did catch another Star Tribune poll that initially would seem to be another poll that is victim to the Strib's "notorious under sampling of Republicans". While the results may be exaggerated there are kernals of truth both in the poll, the trend the poll reports and in some of the response from Ron Carey on behalf of the MN GOP.
The latest poll shows Hatch leading Pawlenty 46% - 37% (+/- 3.5%). Now, Pawlenty supporters may take issue with the actual numbers (as well they should). They also may not like the general message (that Hatch is gaining an advantage), but this is in alignment with what the market has been saying for nearly 2 weeks.
Ron Carey's response to the poll was to dismiss it out of hand.
This poll was taken as revelations about Rep. Mark Foley's despicable behavior were dominating the public's attention and driving down Republican poll numbers across the country and here in Minnesota. No responsible pollster would conduct a survey during a toxic political environment like that without knowing that the numbers would be heavily skewed as a result. Given the Star Tribune's notorious under sampling of Republicans, we are confident Governor Pawlenty will defeat Mike Hatch.Yes, the implication that the poll's timeframe coinciding with the Mark Foley scandal breaking could cause the poll to be exaggerated against the GOP nationwide. However, the idea that a "responsible pollster" should skip timeframes because of the current events that are unfolding is, well, irresponsible and naiive. The entire point of most of these polls is to attempt taking a snapshot of where the citizenry is given all of the news, events, etc that are going on in a particular moment. To believe a pollster should skip taking polls about politics while a major political scandal is unfolding is the result of one thing: partisan protectionism. Would Ron Carey expect pollsters to stop taking polls as gas prices continue to fall? Does he believe it was irresponsible for polls to have been conducted as the infamous blue dress was making headlines? One thing that partisans fail to admit is their beliefs, in all honesty, go both ways.
Back to the poll...
TradeSports contract pricing for the MN GOP race had Pawlenty at a virtual lock at a strange time...after the primaries. During the month of September he went from an 80% chance of winning to nearly a 90% chance of winning. But, just like those percentages on Texas Hold 'Em television shows, that small chance has a way of creeping up every once in a while.
I was watching one hand where a player went all in after the flop with what they believed was an unbeatable hand. The reality was the flop gave her opponent a hand that was listed at 80% chance to win. The turn was no help and gave her opponent a 98% chance...essesntially the all-in player needed the river to be one specific card to win. And it was. She won, with a 2% chance of winning.
The lesson there is applicable here. 2% still does mean, well, there is a chance.
The day the Foley scandal broke Pawlenty's contract dropped from being at the border between "Very strong chance" and "Nearly certain" down to the "Too close to call" range (which is between 45% and 65%). He continues to plummet downward.
The analysis is this: While the specific numbers in the Strib poll may be wrong (nothing new there) the trend is not. The danger now for Pawlenty is that his quest of spending the past 2 years running back to where belongs (in the middle) has cost him some strong support (and in some cases any support) from the fiscal conservative base. The support he began to enjoy from the moderates, independents, and the Only-the-party-matters partisans is not strong enough to hold through a party scandal. Is there enough time to rebound? Yes. Two weeks is a long time in politics...just consider that Pawlenty's stock dropped in 2 days for something he had absolutely no control over. Two weeks is a long time.
BTW, Pawlenty's contract in TradeSports is currently at 50% with 10x the price resistance currently preventing a move above 59% than the support preventing a drop to 10%.
In the meantime, g-o-o-o-o-o Hutchinson.