I've noticed for a while that it seems like there have been very few polls of the Virginia governor's race this cycle, but I had't really looked into it. Until this morning, when I decided to check Real Clear Politics and see if my gut feeling was correct. Well, yes, it was. So far this summer (since June 1), these are the polls of the Virginia governor's race.
That's five polls of the Virginia governor's race since the end of May 2013, with four showing McAuliffe ahead, and one not being a serious poll (NOT because it has Cuccinelli ahead, but because it's been a piece of crap for years now).
That makes 11 polls in 2009 from June 1 through August 23 (McDonnell led all of them except for, ironically, the most pro-Republican one, Rasmussen).
So...in 2009 there were twice as many Virginia Governor polls from June 1 until now as in 2013. It's weird, because if anything you'd think it would be the opposite, as 2009 was a blowout and 2013 is a much closer, more interesting race. What happened?
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, August 23. Also check out President Obama speaking about "his plan to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families."
According to the video description, "Ken Cuccinelli spins and passes the blame when addressing the investigation surrounding his office and its involvement with an out-of-state energy company." Also, the 76-year-old landowner "traveled five hours to make the 7 a.m. event" to ask her question, only to have Cuccinelli dodge and lie (e.g., that the gas companies - CONSOL, for instance - somehow were unhappy with him; then why have they donated thousands of dollars to his campaign?). #FAIL all around by "Corrupt Ken" (most definitely not "Frugal Ken," as he ridiculously calls himself) CONSOLnelli!
Ken Cuccinelli's campaign is trolling Terry McAuliffe pretty hard. Anyone following the Virginia governor's race knows that Cuccinelli's campaign is zealous in sending out torrents of email blasts. Most of the emails criticize Terry McAuliffe for his failed electric car startup or his prominent (and, as Mark Leibovich writes in This Town, perpetually flaunted) connections to the Clinton family.
But two recent emails-titled "What values?" and "Break His Silence"-forge a new path in oppo research by trying to link McAuliffe to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. McAuliffe's crime of omission: not calling for Filner to resign over his spate of sexual harassment accusations...
If this is not THE STUPIDEST attack in Virginia political history, I'd love to hear examples of attacks that were "more stupider," as the expression goes. Let us count the levels of brain-dead, drooling idiocy here (note :you can see Cuccinelli's latest email in the comments section):
1) the Bob Filner situation has absolutely nothing to do with Virginia;
2) Terry McAuliffe has absolutelynothing to do with Bob Filner (who just announced he's resigning, by the way - by Cuckoo's "logic," should T-Mac get credit? LOL);
3) this whole line of attack opens Cuccinelli up to demands that he denounce every crazy, bigoted, extremist nutjob Republican out there, from Steve King to EW Jackson to a gazillion others.
Of course, in Cuccinelli's case, he's actually on the same ticket with an extremist/bigot/nutjob (actually two, but for some reason people are giving Mark Obenshain a pass). And in Cuccinelli's case, he's actually stated that he thinks Steve King's a great Congressman. We could go on and on; the point is, Cuccinelli not only doesn't condemn the hateful, ignorant, divisive, extreme rhetoric and actions by his political allies and contributors (e.g., the Koch brothers are two of the most evil people in America), he doubles down on his ties with these people. By his own "Bob Filner" standard (I was about to call it "logic," but it's too stupid to be logical in any way) shouldn't Democrats be able to pound him on anything and everything those people say and do? Should Cuccinelli be held responsible for every (insane/hateful) word uttered by EW Jackson, by the right-wing propagandists on Faux "News" or on "Red State" or whatever? If not, why not?
*Virginians love Senators Warner and Kaine: "U.S. Sen. Mark Warner gets a 61-25 percent job approval rating, with a 55-32 percent score for Sen. Tim Kaine."
*Virginians love Hillary Clinton: "Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to be the apple of Virginia voters' eyes, leading New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 46-37 percent...Clinton crushes Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 53-34 percent." Run Ted Run! :)
*Virginians are not too thrilled with Bob McDonnell at this point: Although "Voters still approve 47-39 percent of the job Gov. Bob McDonnell is doing...[he] gets a split 34-35 percent favorability rating." Meh. Although I must say, I'm not really seeing how these numbers are bad enough to be a significant drag on Ken Kookinelli. Instead, I'd say Cuckoo's losing this race all by himself, by being a) corrupt; b) a sex-obsessed (and not in a good way) freak; and c) an all-around extremist on a ticket with fellow extremists EW Jackson (who Cuccinelli has said he strongly supports) and Mark Obenshain (who put in a bill to make miscarriages a CRIME!).
(Of course, I'd point out to my friend Paul that Ken Cuccinelli would decimate public school (and health care, etc.) funding in Virginia and severely harm Latino/White/Black kids education, health, etc. - promoted by lowkell)
By Paul Goldman
[Of course, my friend Lowell doesn't mention the "bipartisan transportation package" took $2-3 Billion originally available for K-12 education and now requires it to be spent for roads. It is easy to go with the "money", choose real estate developers over poor kids. So in 2013 parlance, you can either take the Paul Goldman approach for helping poor kids be all they can be or the Boyd Marcus approach, it is your choice. Throwing stones is easy, as some Jewish guy pointed out 2000 years ago. But the record is clear as to which approach has actually meant progress for people in this state, there are any number of books which have examined the record on that score, if there is any doubt.] In a new study - actually, it isn't a new study in terms of when it was done, but "new" in terms of it first being read closely by me last night after speaking with the author - the leading expert in the country shows that kids going to aging school facilities ARE DEFINITELY hurt in terms of both education and HEALTH due to their going to these obsolete, out of date K-12 school buildings. Ironically, the leading expert in this field teaches at Virginia Tech University! That's right, here in the Commonwealth, another of our unused assets, a brilliant mind waiting to have insights used to benefit all of us.
The Professor's name is Glen Earthman. I talked with him on the telephone yesterday; nice guy, friendly, and smart. He did a big study for the Maryland Task Force on School Facilities that is available online. So are various other studies he references and also some doctoral stuff done by Virginia Tech students on the issue.
Bottom line: The statistical evidence is clear, there is a definite connection - not for all students of course but for most of us normative types - between he condition of a school building in key areas and both the education performance and health of children, especially those vulnerable to such things.
Virginia has many of these old and aging schools, and schools in deteriorating conditions. They are everywhere, rich areas, poor areas, middle class areas although they are more prevalent of course in some rather than other such circumstances.
BUT BOTTOM LINE: With test scores falling in many places like Richmond, indeed with only 1 in 4 students tested ready for college as required(!), everything that is contributing to poor student performance needs at least to be understood and reflected upon. The correlation between old buildings, health and education - and a kid in bad health is not likely to be able to learn as required - is not only clear, but it is clear in so many ways that are obvious but yet we miss them very often.
As I argued in the previous entry, responsibility for the unusually harsh nature of American politics today can be blamed almost entirely on today's Republican Party, which makes a fight over everything. Is it valid to say that the Civil War was the result of the same spirit driving the South?
Was one side more responsible than the other for driving the process, from say 1848 to 1861, when the United States polarized, broke apart, and plunged into a bloody Civil War?
Let me acknowledge the great complexity of the history on which any such judgment must rest. Even a correct judgment would best be presented at book length. All I will do here is say briefly how it looks to me after considerable study of the era.
The process by which the United States came to Civil War might usefully be divided into two periods. The first would be the conflict -- mostly, but not only, political -- over slavery from, say, 1848 through 1860. The second would start with the decision by the Southern states to secede from the Union and to up the ante by firing on Fort Sumter.
...the study found a correlation between the number of times a candidate for the House of Representatives was mentioned on Twitter in the months before an election and his or her performance in that election. The more a candidate is mentioned on Twitter, the better.
In other words, the Hollywood adage, "no publicity is bad publicity" would seem to apply to politics as well. Of course, I'm not sure I agree with that adage (or others like "death is a career move"), but then again, what do I know about Hollywood?
Anyway given that I spend a ridiculously (pathetically?) large percentage of my life these days using social media - Twitter included - I was intrigued by the claims made by this study. I mean, it would be cool if we could skip the pollsters and just use Twitter to figure out who was going to win an election. On the other hand, this seems way too good to be true, so in the end I was very skeptical. It didn't help matters that the quantity and quality of claims made for social media's supposed influence, power, etc. are often far out of proportion to their actual influence, power, etc.
Still, I thought it might be worth looking into this a bit, and specifically whether it could be applied to the Virginia governor's race. So, I emailed the authors - Joseph DiGrazia and Fabio Rojas of Indiana University - to see what they thought. I introduced myself, told them who I was and what I was interested in, and they graciously responded almost immediately with information on how to keep a count of Twitter mentions (don't ask: it's highly technical, definitely not fun for liberal arts majors like me). Instead of doing all that, I decided to just do an easy test case: count the number of Twitter mentions of each candidate in August. After doing that, I wrote a follow-up email Monday afternoon:
The first legitimate public poll (Roanoke College "polls" are a complete joke) of the Virginia governor's race since Public Policy Polling came out with one in mid-July has just been released, by Quinnipiac University. Here are the highlights:
*"Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a 48-42 percent lead over Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the race to become Virginia's next governor, according to today's Quinnipiac University poll, the first survey in this race among voters likely to vote in the November election."
*"Voters are divided on McAuliffe as 38 percent say he understands and 42 percent say he doesn't. By a wide 51-37 percent margin, voters say Cuccinelli does not understand." (Wait, just because Cuccinelli wants to slash taxes for rich people, devastate education and transportation, and tell you what you can NOT do in your bedroom?)
*"McAuliffe carries Democrats 92-1 percent while Cuccinelli wins Republicans 90-6 percent. Independent voters are divided with 42 percent for McAuliffe and 44 percent for Cuccinelli."
*"The candidates break even 45-46 percent among men while McAuliffe takes women 50-38 percent."
*"Cuccinelli wins white voters 50-42 percent, while black voters go Democratic 74-7 percent."
*"Voters have a 41-35 percent unfavorable view of Cuccinelli and disapprove slightly, 46-42 percent, of his performance as attorney general. They have a split 34-33 percent favorable/ unfavorable opinion of McAuliffe." (I'm truly astounded that science-denying/gay-bashing/women's-rights-denying Cuckoo's even got 35% viewing him favorably. Who ARE these people who view him favorably, and what is wrong with them?!?)
*"With less than three months until the election, the candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor are unknown to the vast majority of voters." (That's truly pitiful, a failure of both the media to report and the public to pay attention. At the bare minimum, voters should know who EW Jackson is by this point, as he's gotten tons of - really bad - publicity for his lunacy. But noooo. Ugh.)
*Q-Poll's party breakdown is Democrat 30%, Republican 23%, Independent 39%. This compares to PPP's registered voter poll, which had the partisan breakdown as Democrat 37%, Republican 32%, Independent/Other 31%. Q-Poll thus has Dems lower than PPP by 7 points, Republicans lower by 9 points, and Independents higher by 8 points.
Anyway, the bottom line is that this is pretty good news overall, with a 6-point lead among likely voters for Terry McAuliffe, just 2 1/2 months until election day. I'd love it to be 10 or 15 points over an extremist nutjob like Kookinelli, but sadly, there are a lot of people who will just blindly vote for anyone with an "R" by their name. Also, even sadder (and scarier), there are a lot of people who agree with the "Extreme Team" in their bigoted, intolerant, ignorant, screw-the-middle-and-working-class views...
P.S. Just for comparison purposes, in 2009 at this time, Bob McDonnell was up 7-15 points over Creigh Deeds. Thus, Terry McAuliffe now being up 6 points over Ken Cuccinelli represents a swing in Democrats' favor of 13-21 points over 4 years ago at this time.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, August 21. Also, check out the video of Rachel Maddow talking with Del. Scott Surovell (D-Mt. Vernon) about Bob McDonnell's troubles, whether or not he should be impeached, and what to do about ethics reform (I disagree with Del. Surovell that we should wait until January 2014 to hold a special session on ethics).
I frequently disagree with Mark Warner, but I strongly agree with his take on the whole Greentech Automotive "issue" (in quotes because I think it's mostly ginned-up nonsense by Republicans to try and convince "Obama coalition" voters to stay home on November 5): "I've invested in businesses. Not all of them have gone well. Being an entrepreneur, especially in the auto industry, is a tough thing." Bingo. What boggles my mind is to see Republicans - supposedly a party which champions new business development/entrepreneurship, bash Terry McAuliffe for...working to start a new business and be an entrepreneur. It would be funny if it weren't so weird.
In other news, I'm not surprised that Warner's steering clear of commenting much on Bob McDonnell, as it doesn't fit his bipartisan/above-the-partisan-fray "shtick" to wade into stuff like this. I do agree with Warner that "whenever the legislature is back in session, I hope we see some stronger disclosure laws because this also needs to be in the past." I'd just say that "whenever the legislature is back in session" should be changed to "immediately," when the public's actually paying (at least some) attention. We certainly should NOT wait until next year, when Gov. McDonnell will be out of office and the pressure will largely be off the General Assembly to enact a deep, broad, truly serious ethics reform package. Of course, that's exactly what a lot of Virginia's legislators (and the lobbyists and corporations who largely control them) want...to pass a feel-good "ethics reform" package that doesn't really do much of anything, certainly that doesn't change the cozy, crony capitalist little system they've got going.
Democratic candidate for Attorney General Mark Herring called for Ken Cuccinelli to fully release emails related to his involvement in the scandal involving his office’s cozy relationship with out-of-state energy companies involved in a dispute with southwest Virginia landowners over unpaid mining royalties.
“At a time when Virginians deserve the truth, Ken Cuccinelli and his office continue to fight to keep the public in the dark about the help they gave to out-of-state gas companies trying to deny Virginians millions in mining royalties," Herring said. “It’s shameful that Ken Cuccinelli aligned with the gas companies to keep their emails out of the public view. And it’s shameful that Cuccinelli would think it’s acceptable for his office to offer legal advice to an out of state company, instead of working on behalf of Virginians.
“It seems every day we have more proof that Ken Cuccinelli is more concerned with sweeping his scandals – whether it’s Star Scientific or this mining royalties scandal – under the rug instead of revealing the truth. It’s shocking that his ticketmate Mark Obenshain sits quietly on the sidelines while Ken Cuccinelli puts the interest of a company that donates to his campaign over the interests of Virginia taxpayers. This is why Virginians are ready for a change in the Office of Attorney General,” Herring added.
Earlier today, the Associated Press reported that Cuccinelli fought to release the emails to prosecutors. The full AP article is below.
One thing I find interesting about all these Republicans endorsing Terry McAuliffe is that not a single Democrat, to my knowledge, has gone the other way and endorsed Cuccinelli. Gee, I wonder why that is...hmmm. By the way, the video is of a wrap-up session on the 2012 Tim Kaine vs. George Allen Senate race, with Boyd Marcus - the guy who's now endorsed Terry McAuliffe - the former Allen campaign's senior strategist facing off against Kaine strategist (and now DNC Communications Director) Mo Elleithee. It's also important to emphasize that Marcus was/is very tight with Bill Bolling, so it makes you wonder to what extent this endorsement reflects Bolling's thinking...
Today, Terry McAuliffe for Governor announced that Boyd Marcus, who served as Governor Jim Gilmore's Chief of Staff and has worked with Virginia Republicans for about 40 years, will join "Virginians for McAuliffe" as a supporter and the McAuliffe Campaign as a consultant.
"I am enthusiastically supporting Terry McAuliffe for Governor because I believe he will work with both parties to advance an agenda that prioritizes economic growth. Virginia needs an experienced businessman who will put the practical needs of our people ahead of political ideology," said Marcus. "I've never before supported any Democrat, but this election Terry is the clear choice for mainstream conservatives. I am excited to work with him to grow the already-long list of prominent Republican leaders who are supporting his campaign. Virginia is facing tremendous economic headwinds and we need a Governor who is going to work with both parties."
As a member of "Virginians for McAuliffe," Marcus joins prominent Republicans supporting McAuliffe including Dwight Schar, Judy Ford Wason, Sen. John Chichester, Del. Vince Callahan, Sen. Russ Potts, Del. Jim Dillard, John Sherman and Del. Katherine Waddell.
"Boyd is a great addition to our campaign team that is focused on bringing together Virginians of both parties," said McAuliffe. "Leadership means working with both parties towards compromises that move Virginia's economy forward."
I've been meaning to write about this for a couple days now, but have been finding it difficult to motivate myself. Perhaps it's just that I'm feeling a bit burned out right now, with this seemingly endless governor's race from hell and the 24/7 lies/nastiness/idiocy from Ken Cuccinelli. At times, it's truly enough to make me want to turn off my TV (which I rarely watch anyway, but the other night during the Nats game, I saw Cuccinelli's absurd attack ad against Terry McAuliffe three times - ugh!), radio, and internet connection. It also could be that the subject of DJ Rippert's comment at Bacon's Rebellion is so...I dunno, depressing? Is Virginia a "tin horn dictatorship?" Are we at the point where we're seriously even asking that question?
Well, yes. We are. Let's face it, this state's political system is one of legalized corruption, pretty much from top to bottom. It really hit me a couple years ago, when Virginia Uranium - a company that, no matter what you think of it, most certainly stands to gain or lose a LOT based on actions (or inaction) by the Virginia General Assembly - unabashedly, and more to the point legally, offered to fly any and all members of the Virginia General Assembly to France, at a cost of $10k per legislator, to inspect a closed uranium mining operation hang out at Parisian cafes for three (free) days. At the time, I checked into ethics laws in other states to see whether this type of thing would be kosher there. The bottom line: in many (most?) other states, this trip would be blatantly illegal. In many others it would be less-than-blatantly illegal, but certainly unethical. Here in the Old Dominion? It's of course wildly unethical by any standard of good government, but it's also 100% legal. And that, my friends, is FUBAR.
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