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The Tally Ho

Saturday, November 06, 2004

More of CSPAN's Coverage of Pollsters Post Election

The whole reason why I have a television is to examine visual culture and media. So I end up watching CSPAN because, well, that is me. Below I wrote about a group of Republican and Democratic pollsters on a panel Thursday at George Washington University. Well, not long after that E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post moderated three between three pollsters, two of which were Republican Tony Frabrizio and Democrat Douglas Schoen. I was not able to watch the entire discussion, but both initially had some interesting things to say, some of which contrasts the opinions expressed below. I'll start with Frabrizio.

According to his initial research, among voters President Bush won the issue of the Global War on Terror while Senator Kerry won on the war in Iraq. He also stated that Mr. Bush hogged the spotlight enough to take economics and healthcare sufficiently out of the equation to have the large impact that was expected. Next he said that the GOP GOTV was real good, and what he found was that their new voters were not young people or a new group, it was an addition to the same type of voters that already exist within the GOP. While many thought that Bush went too far on his use of language in regards to good and evil, these new voters by and large agreed with the President's terminology. What struck me even more, coming from a Republican pollster, is how he said the GOP is theocratic. This has grown since the 1996 election, and he should know because he worked for Senator Dole. Speaking of theocrats, he said that in battle ground states after party affiliation, the next indicator of voting was if the voter was more theocratic or secularist. Frabrizio said that homemakers were theocrats and working women were secularist. Lastly, the most striking change in from four years ago has been the change in the gender gap. Vice President Gore won women voters by 19% while Senator Kerry won by 3%.

Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen started out his presentation by saying the DNC has a very big problem. Schoen traces the origin of this problem to 1964, the voting rights and civil rights acts which started much of the cultural gap. That LBJ was right, and there are serious warning signs in the future. Usually we have been hearing about how difficult it is to defeat a war time president, etc., but he thought that Bush started from a weak head. His approval rating was under 50%, the public is not hot on the war in Iraq, which was a loser issue for him, and then the job loses. Schoen stated that he thought Senator Kerry did a very good job on the stump and in the debates, but the campaign couldn't transform these performances away from anti-Bush. In 2000 Al Gore did not want to deal with "faith based" plans fearing the Democratic base's possible disapproval, and it was too late by the time they came around to this. He did not say this, but perhaps this was the reason for Mr. Kerry to talk about his Catholicism to the length that he did in the last debate. Next Schoen said that the Democratic Party has to establish itself as the party of fiscal conservatism/responsibility while showing that the government can play a role health care, education, etc. Back to the cultural issue of religion, he mentioned that many of the voters who voted for the bans on gay marriage also were in favor of raising the minimum wage. What I took from this is that secular Democrats and liberals need to understand the evangelical and religious groups positions, especially seeing their willingness to support economic issues and making the right moral arguments for health care, fair wages, etc. need to be made. At this point I had to leave. Hopefully I will be able to catch the replay so I can see the end.

Last week on WNYC's Brian Lehrer show (or at least I think it was that show) a caller mentioned that for many religious and evangelicals, there is a broader community that helps out with child care, provides meals, etc., things that the government has done less of for a few decades.

In any case, I thought I would pass this on too.

Update: I am watching the end of this panel. It is very interesting. To continue, and I didn't see the whole thing as my roommates girlfriend is in town and the prospect of wine was too great.

Frabrazio Cont. Mr. Frabrazio continued to say that political strategy is about what you can win, not wah you do to blow your brains out the back of your head. On Senator Kerry's Iraq vote she responded to Schoen's comments that it didn't matter because like it or not Mr. Kerry became the anti-war candidate. The Bush campaign worked on his Iraq vote by boxing him in. Mr. Kerry would have only gotten out of it by proving that he was heartless and had bloodlust (think "We will kill all terrorists"). Later, about the GOP coalition, he continues that the GOP found a kind of sweet spot, but problems will arise. First, Mr. Bush didn't lose many gay republicans. Second, the theocrats vs. secularists will arise as the former has more power. The Giuliani-Pitaki-McCain-Governator axis will have a very hard time ever getting a nomination. Later on he states that without 9/11, there is no coalition. This allowed domestic issues to be put on the backburner - caused the various groups not to destroy each other internally. As for Mr. Bush and the conservatives, he could say that he had no litmus test for judges because Pat Robertson and Gary Bauer know that he does. In response to what the Dems need to do, he sates that they need to talk to Senator Bayh and Governor Easley - it sounded as if not necessarily specifically on issues, but on style. Democrats have to build new coalitions. Follow the successful models.

Mr. Schoen described Mr. Kerry's position on Iraq as bad because he had to navigate around Dean's anti-war, around getting rid of a dictator, and allowing the president to bring a big stick to the negotiating table. Mr. Schoen is of the opinion that people don't think in terms of class across the board. As for the Bush Campaign, he thinks that they have no intention of reaching out despite that fact that if the GOP could seize the center while holding the coalition they will be able to hold a permanent majority. If they fail at this, no majority. And as the Republican pollster above stated, Mark Warner has a successful formula and it should be learned from.

E.J. Dionne, who somewhat reminds me of one of my undergraduate professors chimed in with a few things. First, John Kerry was the only on to actually kill communists. On the Iraq vote he thought it was an intentional political trap that Senator Salazar best answered by saying that he would have voted for it, but now that we know the truth about WMD there never would be a vote. One difference in the campaigns that he pointed out was how Mr. Rove ran this campaign for evengelicals, but underground by direct mail and so forth. Democrats courted the left more publically.

Lastly, Melinda Henneberger chimed in by saying that Sen. Kerry was too complicated, but was in fact consistent. Mr. Kerry believes that you need a big stick while negotiating - but couldn't say it that simply. She was of the opinion that environmental issues were a huge under reported, not paid attention to moral issue for many.

That is all for tonight.

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