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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas
In the latest installment of Politico's obsession with Harry Reid's campaign about the Koch brothers, Ken Vogel has some good background on what led Reid to focus on the Kochs (his wife was a big factor) and how the campaign developed. It's a good read on how Washington reacts to attacks on big money in politics, and also on Reid and his convictions about campaign spending reform. But aside from that, it shows how Reid knows how to pick his targets.
Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who has consulted with Reid’s team on its Koch push, says that it’s starting to pay off. “I’ve told them that I think that Sen. Reid has had a significant impact and that he has struck a responsive chord in terms of creating real responses and reactions from voters,” said Garin, whose firm polls for multiple Democratic super PACs, candidates and party committees.

“The Koch brothers have become central enough that we ask about them in every poll, regardless of who we’re polling for,” Garin said. On average, nearly 60 percent of respondents recognize the Koch brothers’ names, he said, adding that their negatives “are in the high 30s and moving towards the 40s, depending on the state.”

Invoking the brothers’ names also “helps to negate some of the impact of some of their negative advertisements,” Garin said. “Once people understand that the Koch brothers are behind these ads, people discount what they’re hearing in the ads.”

There's more, though. Speaking to Democratic donors at a meeting in Santa Fe last month, American Bridge founder David Brock talked about focus groups the Super PAC had run on the Kochs and their agenda. Out of the 46 people in the focus group, he said, only two had a positive or mixed reaction to "the Kochs’ positions on education, health care, wages and jobs." The rest all responded negatively. That, Brock said, was a direct result of Reid's efforts to get the Koch name out there, in the news in the context of deceptive political ads and anti-populist politics. "The key connection Democrats need to make: The Kochs are out to hurt the middle class," Brock reportedly said in talking to donors. "So that’s the strategy we're pursuing. Relentlessly." It has the advantage of both being effective, and true.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 12:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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