• Advertising: Before Democratic campaign managers and consultants prepare to dump another nine figures into the gaping maw of broadcast TV this cycle, they'd do well to learn more about a recent survey, conducted by Dem pollster GSG and Republican pollster POS, on media usage and generational change. The nut of the problem is simple: Fewer and fewer people are watching live TV.
In fact, twenty-nine percent of all likely voter respondents hadn't watched anything on live TV (other than sports) in the previous week, and of particular concern for Democrats, that figure shoots up to 43 percent among the 18-to-24 set. By the same token, 36 percent of Hispanics also hadn't watched non-sports live TV in the last week. In other words, it's broad swaths of the Dem coalition that are disproportionately no longer watching live TV, with its inescapable ads.
In addition to large numbers of people time-shifting via DVR or watching programming online, the study also found a double-digit increase in streaming via smartphone or tablet, just since 2012. The survey, naturally, is framed in terms of how campaigns will need to adapt with broader digital buyer strategies, though notably, it was conducted for Google, which just might have a vested interest in seeing more campaign dollars spent on targeted online advertising. The pollsters also don't make any recommendations about, say, spending more on better voter databases to improve individual voter contact. (David Jarman)
• AR-Sen: The heavyweight Democratic super PAC Patriot Majority USA is launching a $150,000 ad campaign attacking GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for Senate. As a lotto-style card with Cotton's face appears on the screen, the narrator says that if you want "the real Tom Cotton" "just scratch the surface." I don't know if that visual really works, though, because Cotton's photo gets etched away to reveal... the same photo, just in black and white. The rest of the spot is standard fare: "Cotton made hundreds of thousands of dollars working for corporate interests" and now supports their "schemes" in Congress, like "privatizing Social Security" and "pledging to keep tax breaks that ship jobs overseas."
• CO-Sen: Lost in the shuffle Tuesday with PPP's new Colorado survey were some numbers from Republican pollster Harper Polling, produced for the American Action Network. Harper has Democratic Sen. Mark Udall leading GOP Rep. Cory Gardner 45-44, similar to the 42-40 Udall edge that PPP found.
• IL-Gov: If you only consider the winners in looking at Tuesday night's primary results in Illinois, then there were no surprises. The margins, however, tell a very different story. Billionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner capture the GOP gubernatorial nomination, but he survived by a shockingly tight 40-37 spread over state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Rauner had dumped enormous sums into TV ads, and conservative pollster We Ask America absolutely flooded the zone with survey after survey showing him with an insurmountable lead. Indeed, their final numbers, taken the day before the election, had Rauner up 44-27.
Polling primaries is no easy task, but this is a massive miss, and WAA will need to offer some serious and searching self-criticism if they ever want to be taken seriously again. You also have to wonder if WAA's parent organization, the extremely right-wing and anti-union Illinois Manufacturers' Association, had a rooting interest in this race. Dillard was actually able to make it so close because labor groups spent heavily on his behalf to attack Rauner. And because Illinois has open primaries, they encouraged their members (many of whom might otherwise lean Democratic) to vote for Dillard. It almost worked.
And this is probably the ideal outcome for embattled Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who will need a lot of luck to survive in November. Sure, Rauner has infinity moneys, but he's easily caricatured as an out-of-touch one-percenter, thanks in large part to his own Romney-esque tendencies. And a narrow win after a bitter primary means that Dillard can't possibly be thrilled about attending whatever unity breakfast the GOP hopes to schedule.
Quinn, in fact, has already gone on the offensive, airing a new ad before Rauner was even officially declared the victor on Tuesday. The buy is small (around $45,000), but the topic goes right at one of Rauner's worst blunders to date. Quinn's spot features two clips of Rauner. In one, he says, "I will advocate moving the Illinois minimum wage back to the national minimum wage," which is lower. In the other, he says, "I am adamantly, adamantly against raising the minimum wage." This is not the last time we're going to hear Democrats bring this up.
• AZ-07: State Sen. Ruben Gallego just picked up the endorsement of Rep. Raul Grijalva, an outspoken progressive and the only non-freshman Arizona Democrat other than the man Gallego is hoping to replace, retiring Rep. Ed Pastor.
• IL-11: Republicans lucked out (after a fashion) in the 11th District, where state Rep. Darlene Senger narrowly prevailed over Grundy County Board Member Chris Balkema, 37-33. (Self-funding businessman Bert Miller came in third with 26 percent.) Balkema, a small-time candidate who managed to file his pre-primary FEC report four days late, was most definitely not the establishment choice. Senger, by contrast, had earned a spot on the NRCC's inaugural (and awkwardly named) "Young Guns" list, though she's proven to be a weak fundraiser herself.
More importantly, she's facing Democratic Rep. Bill Foster, a strong campaigner seeking re-election in a district Obama carried 58-41. Even with unpopular Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn exerting pressure at the top of the ticket, the district demographics and the disparities between the two nominees put this seat all but out of reach for the GOP.
• IL-13: Former Judge Ann Callis, the choice of the Democratic establishment, handily won her party's primary Tuesday night, defeating physics professor George Gollin 55-31. On the GOP side, though, Rep. Rodney Davis, who had already started advertising with the general election in mind, won a much narrower-than-expected victory over former Miss America Erika Harold, 55-41. Early polling had shown Davis crushing by almost 50 points, and Harold seemed to run a lackluster campaign and raised little.
But Davis, you'll recall, only secured the Republican nomination in 2012 thanks to a back-room appointment after Rep. Tim Johnson unexpectedly retired, so he'd never gone before primary voters before. With just a little more energy (or some Democratic ratfucking), Harold might have done him in. Davis' defenders, though, have already noted that 51,000 votes were cast on the GOP side while there were only 32,000 for the Democrats, and they point to that as a negative sign for Democrats heading into the fall.
But last cycle, the numbers were almost identical, despite a barely contested GOP primary (Johnson was still seeking re-election at the time), and yet the general election wound up as one of the closest in the entire nation. Of course, 2014 won't be the same as 2012 in terms of voter enthusiasm for Democrats, but it's just a reminder that it's risky to look at downballot turnout as a predictor, especially when only one side has a competitive race at the top of the ticket. Last time, the GOP presidential primary was the same day; this time, Republicans had a hard-fought race for governor while Democrats renominated their incumbent. Davis still has the advantage over Callis (we rate the race as Lean R), but it's not because of what happened Tuesday night.
• Special Elections: A very unusual outcome in Pennsylvania, as Johnny Longtorso explains:
Pennsylvania SD-28: It appears that Republican Scott Wagner, who ran as a write-in, has won this race. Write-ins received 48 percent of the vote, while on-the-ballot Republican Ron Miller was a distant second with 27 percent, and Democrat Linda Small was right behind Miller with 26.There aren't a lot of sitting office-holders who can say they won via write-in!