#NCSEN: How to read Karl Rove’s silly poll

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The shih-tzu included some recent polling on the Republican US Senate race in his “Morning Memo” this AM.  Karl Rove’s Crossroads super PAC issued polling results from their own survey showing Karl’s man Thom Tillis tied 44-44 with Kay Hagan.  What made the poll even more interesting is that the only other head-to-head matchup results released were Mark Harris (40%) vs. Hagan (44%).

Why release hypothetical November matchup results when filing hasn’t started and we still have a May primary election?  Every other poll I’ve seen has Tillis and Greg Brannon at the top of the GOP heap.  Was a hypothetical Brannon vs. Hagan matchup tested?  If so, why weren’t the results released?  If not, why not?  Harris is regularly polling at the back of the pack.  Why single him out?

I had a few theories about all of this, which I bounced off of a few fellow “political combat” veterans.  Here are some of the more plausible thoughts we came up with:

1.  Tillis still needs to nail down the greater Charlotte area.  Yes, he does have one of the top jobs in Raleigh.  But unlike Dan Forest and Pat McCrory, who ran statewide, Tillis has only been voted on by a section of Mecklenburg and Davidson counties — a small sliver of the state’s population.  He’s a household name to people who live and breathe state politics.  There are likely plenty of places within Mecklenburg County where you may hear perplexed and confused people ask ” Thom, who?”

We published a story earlier about some other polling we had seen on this race — one sponsored by a political party, and the other by an independent organization not connected to any candidate in the race.  These two polls concurred that Mark Harris is pulling potential Tillis votes in the greater Charlotte area.  Mark Harris, via his church work, is well-known and respected in the Greater Charlotte area.  He provides a safe alternative for Charlotte area voters who may want to pull the lever for one of their own — without having to hear his name mentioned in the same breath with terms like “lobbyist sex,” ”pay-to-play”, “Richard Morgan”, “Steven LaRoque”, toll roads, Time Warner, and “business relationship” among others.

One possibility advanced by one of my confidants — which I found plausible — is that this survey was meant to demonstrate to Charlotte area voters sitting on the fence trying to decide, between Tillis and Harris, that Tillis would be the, um, “stronger” candidate in November against Hagan.

Tillis has been getting a lot of grief lately about skipping candidate forums.  His campaign dismissed the events as not authentic GOP gatherings.  But it was hard to use that line when he skipped out on the Forsythe County GOP candidates forum.  After that event, I decided to do the job Binky, the shih-tzu and Sleepy Morrill should have done.  I asked: Where was Thom that night?  

My eyes-and-ears in Mecklenburg informed me that ol’ Thom was at the regular monthly meeting of the North Meck Republican Women.  Hmmm.  Why would Mr. Inevitability skip an opportunity to put himself in front of voters in Forsythe County, who may not know him so well, to attend a local function not far from where he lives? 

The polling I’ve seen — and the things I’ve heard from Mecklenburg sources — tells me that Mr. Speaker still has a good bit of work to do in his home base.  We’ve heard from a number of Cornelius residents — some living right down the street from Thom and Susan — who are expressing the opposite of love for Karl Rove’s man and the media’s Mr. Inevitability.   Three of them voiced their feelings about The Speaker in the comments section at the end of this post. 

2. The poll is serving as a shiny object to distract, captivate big donors who haven’t yet been shaken down by Rove and the Tillis machine. Crossroads likely cherry-picked numbers from the survey that fit their narrative.  It had to surprise them greatly that Mr. Inevitability was only showing a tie against Chuck Schumer’s Sock Puppet.™  Rove’s money men can go to their suckers donors with a real-live bona fide poll showing their guy hanging tight with Miss Kay.

But why no mention of the performance of this Brannon guy who has caught the attention, and earned the endorsement, of conservative and Tea Party stalwarts like Rand Paul, Ann Coulter and FreedomWorks?  If the survey had showed Brannon performing poorly, they would have eagerly released that info to the public. 

3. The poll facilitates the establishment / media narrative about the GOP race being Tillis vs Harris.   This was another interesting line of thinking that came up in our discussions.  Despite Harris polling dismally — the two polls I cited in my earlier post had him basically invisible in eastern North Carolina — the media keeps portraying him as hot on the heels of frontrunner Thom. 

Harris is portrayed as a potential Tea Party leader and an attraction for social conservatives.  But that spin weakens when you point out that Harris’ campaign chairman is Robin Hayes, purveyor of this rant and most recently of the NCGOP chairmanship, the Raleigh & DC establishment, and the liberal Ripon Society (which has long sought the exorcism of social issues and The Religious Right from the GOP).  The campaign staff is made up of a lot of 20-something Hayes disciples from his days as NCGOP chairman.  The campaign’s consultant is Georgia resident Tom Perdue, known best as chief strategist for Robin Hayes and a long list of other RINO / establishment southern Republican politicians.

Some have theorized that Harris was injected into the race to divide the conservative vote and aid the Tillis campaign.  

Problem:  Harris is causing problems for Tillis in their shared neck of the woods.  Plan B for the establishment must be to maneuver Harris into the #2 position in the field — hoping that he’ll eventually self-destruct as a result of (a) speaking in tongues, (b) charming snakes, (c) condemning homosexuals to the fire pits of hell, or (d) all of the above.  THAT would leave Speaker Thom free to leisurely coast past the checkered flag in May and head for the next lobbyist meet-and-greet.  

 

 

8 thoughts on “#NCSEN: How to read Karl Rove’s silly poll

  1. And in the end I think it will be Chuck Schumer’s sock puppet vs. Karl Rove’s sock puppet. If Karl cannot use Obamacare to defeat Chuck then this will be the end of Karl. If Chuck beats Karl here in the Old North State there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth among conservatives all over the world. If Karl loses then I feel the end may be near.

    Let us put aside petty differences and get behind Karl. Let us paint our faces like when Mel Gibson portrayed William Wallace in “Braveheart” and muster up the courage to meet Chuck’s challenge with Braveheart’s cry on our lips, “They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom.”

    1. That would be an absolutely dismal choice, and we must work hard to avoid it. It is a dismal choice because it is no choice. There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two. From this poll, giving up at this point would be foolish. It is clear that Tilli$ is weak in both the primary and general. We can beat him, and have a real choice in November.

      I heard an interesting suggestion from someone the other day about what to do if disaster struck and Tilli$ ended up the nominee. She said she was going to write in for John Rhodes and tell every conservative she knew to do that. That is an interesting choice as Tilli$ got his start in politics by being recruited to be the Richard Morgan / Jim Black primary opponent to conservative incumbent John Rhodes and Tilli$ was the only Morganite challenger in the state to beat an incumbent loyalist Repubican. A significant write in vote for Rhodes against Tilli$ in November would be karma.

    2. “Let us put aside petty differences and get behind Karl.”

      I mean you no offence, and I admire your sentiment, but Karl made war on us not us on Karl. Screw Karl. Further, Thom meddled in our primaries, we.ve not bothered Thom. Same goes for him.

    3. Jr: Resist drifting into lazy thinking so early. It is easy to let the RNC think for you. Lots of debate outcomes and value judgements to be made between now and November. The Beltway RNC may hold the bucks … for now … but we down here in the grassroots hold the votes. What bucks we do have, we will send direct to our candidate(s), bypassing the traditional Beltway money laundering operation. We are no longer in the mood to listen to the empty pronouncements of Washington. Stick with us. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. Rove’s polls are often manipulated by the way questions are asked, but that is much more difficult to do on ballot test questions. You are right that he usually only shares parts of the results that fit with his objectives. I would assume that he also, as usual, does not release the crosstabs which would give more demographic information.

    The parts of a Rove poll that he does not release tell you as much as the parts that he does. The fact that he releases nothing on Brannon tells you that Brannon must have performed very well on Rove’s poll. One other part he did not release any numbers at all on was the ballot test for the primary, and that says that his special interest rent boy Tilli$ must be doing worse than Rove would like in the primary.

  3. It is also very telling who is endorsing Dr. Greg Brannon (Rand Paul, Ann Coulter & Freedom Works) versus who is endorsing Thom Tillis ( Karl Marx Rove).

    Almost all I talk to in the western end of the state are supporting Brannon or “that preacher from Charlotte”.

    1. Someone just as telling who is supporting Tilli$ is Senator Lindsay Grahamnesty of South Carolina. We do NOT need another Grahamnesty. We need to get rid of the one we have.

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