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View Diary: May House Race Rankings (169 comments)

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  •  Continuing to Argue with the Conventional Wisdom (3+ / 0-)
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    DelRPCV, Xan, sobermom
    1. North Carolina 08 (nr) (Larry Kissell vs. Rep. Robin Hayes): The Raleigh News & Observer just printed an amazing poll with Kissell actually beating Hayes, despite the fact that Kissell has little money or name recognition.  Is Hayes' flip-flop on CAFTA enough to doom him against any comers?  A word of caution: Hayes has plenty of funds and has pulled out close races before. should be a tier one race;
    1. North Carolina 11 (15) (Heath Shuler vs. Rep. Charles Taylor): Taylor just made arguably the stupidest series of political moves in living memory (OK, Sen. Jim Talent's stem cell research statements are up there).  First, he stuck his neck out and blocked funding for a memorial to United Flight 93.  Then, after huffing about standing on fiscal responsibility principles, he abruptly caved and did a 180--introducing the legislation.  Incidentally, Shuler is for real and raised almost double what Taylor did in Q1.

    should be tier two (though let it be said I want both to win).  Though, by the methodology the diarest presents, I think he did rank them correctly.
    Why?  What's left out?  The underlying demographics -- the magical "democratic performance".  See this post for the fact that the previous races (Troutman and Khouri) had candidates that had certain high negatives -- this one is quite different -- not a lawyer, not a Hollywood person -- and this race is the top of the ticket.

    I don't think that Democratic performance is taken seriously enough in targeting races -- does anyone else believe as I believe?  Part of the problem is that if it were taken more seriously, there would be less choice on the part of the party in who to contribute funds to and support.  Right now, money is a self-fulfilling prophesy -- rather than a true calculation of how much is needed to get out the relevant messages for a particular campaign.

    •  I hear ya (4+ / 0-)

      I actually take Dem performance into account; it's the baseline.  But the performance numbers aren't all that far apart.  NC-08 has a Dem performance figure of 46.5; NC-11 is 42.8.  Hayes took 55% and 56% the last two times; Taylor took 57% and 55%.  

    •  Money (1+ / 0-)
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      In all seriousness, how can someone who has raised as little money as Kissel has be a tier one challenger? There may be plenty of good reasons why he hasn't been able to raise beaucoup cash yet, but that isn't my question. It's just almost impossible to beat an incumbent in America without a sizable warchest.

      NC-08 may turn into a first-tier race somewhere down the road, but I definitely can't see it being so now.

      •  Self-fulfilling prophesy (1+ / 0-)
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        You are right that people are very unlikely to win without the ability to get the message out.  I think that the sense that I want to prioritize races is one based upon what I, as a contributor or volunteer, can do.  Some sort of conception of marginal utility ...

        We can't change the demographics of the district.  We can't change the background or the baggage of a candidate.  Our analyses need to start there.  What we can do is choose to allocate money to either X or Y; rankings ought to have this pragmatic structure.  How do we go about making that decision rationally, if we are talking about the problem of winning back 14 seats?  Dick Morris, in his New Prince, talked about having enough money, which isn't necessarily more than one's opponent.  Enough to introduce the candidate.  Enough to be able to counter an unfounded attack.  If a candidate has enough money, and the demographics, background, and baggage are adequate, the candidate wins.  Perhaps there is a good way to quantify "enough" -- in terms of media markets, necessary messages, baggage, &c. -- something for to think about.  Does any Republican ever suffer from not having "enough" money?  Do they ever let that happen?  

        I'm mulling the problem of the "closeness" of performance numbers now.  If a poll has a +/- margin of error of 3%, and one poll says 50 and one says 53 -- the two polls are saying the same thing.  However, democratic performance isn't a poll, it is a description of the actual population, not a sample.  The operative concept ought to be -- what does it take to move 1 point?  Is it twice as hard to move 2 points, or is the relationship nonlinear?  To view the performance numbers as close doesn't seem right, but the error is an easy one to make, because we are used to interpreting samples, not censuses of populations.  Probably the only data set large enough would be looking at all of the legislative races and seeing, say, how often there is deviation from the party performance.  Does anyone have such a dataset?

        Kissell suffered from the Fighting Dem phenomenon --there was a person in the race, Tim Dunn, who looked like a good candidate.  However, his pro-life stance ultimately cost him serious fundraising opportunities, after using up most of the early fundraising opportunities for Kissell.

        This is what the Kissell fundraising looks like as of the last report.  

    •  May not be all that pertinent (0+ / 0-)

      but I seem to remember that when Heath was QB at Tennessee (I'm a big Vol fan), there were many who discounted both his ability and his brain. He wound up being one of the best QBs at UT, setting a number of records.

      I wouldn't count him out, even in a district normally Repub. He's overcome long odds before.

      Bruce in Louisville

      by bmaples on Thu May 04, 2006 at 06:14:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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