NSFT--Not Safe For Twitter--Election Eve Special

A mostly political weblog.
Nov. 2 2009 4:49 PM

NSFT--Not Safe For Twitter--Election Eve Special

R, Robot: Could this be the election that validates automated polls as more accurate than regular polls conducted by humans? Robopollster  Rasmussen may have more riding on the New Jersey results than ObamaMark Blumenthal  (citing Nate Silver)  discusses whether the reluctance of some potential voters to answer automated surverys eerily replicates the reluctance of some potential voters to ... vote --in effect giving robo-polls an effective screen for "likely" voters.** .. Also, in an especially exciting development, the Incumbent Rule may make a comeback ... P.S.: If robopolling really does focus accurately on "likely" voters, this latest Rasmussen-heavy health care chart will terrify wavering Democrats. ...

**-- Post Election Update: Rasmussen and the other robopollsters were more accurate, but  Blumenthal now attributes this to their "simulating a secret ballot, thus pushing voters harder to make a choice" between anti-Corzine candidates Christie and Daggett." Does this mean the robots' "likely voter" screen wasn't any better? ... 10:30 P.M.



Bonus Conditional CW: If conservative insurgent Doug Hoffman defeats the Democrat in New York's 23d District (after Republican party candidate, Dede Scozzafava, dropped out)--

Old CW: Sure, Scozzafava is a moderate Republican but that's what her constituents want.

New CW: It's a conservative district, what did you expect?

9:49 P.M.


kf --Always the Positive Spin: The UAW's Ford workers have rejected contract concessions that would have almost-but-not-quite lowered Ford's labor costs to match GM and Chrysler's new costs, which are said to almost-but-not-quite match Toyota and Honda's. But is that really so bad? It means pattern bargaining is broken. The UAW strategy was always to take labor costs out of the auto industry's competitive equation by making basically the same deal with each of the Big Three. Yet Ford's workers obviously saw that their company was doing better than Chrysler or GM, and they refused to get in line. It's now clear that the fate of even unionized auto workers will vary with the success or failure of their individual employers. They're back to competing against each other, not just against the "bosses." ... P.S.: Too bad the GM and Chrysler bailouts, with their minimal UAW contract concessions, may have given Ford workers an excessively rosy impression of what it really means to have a failed employer.  Were Ford workers scared enough to avoid the UAW's too-little-too-late tradition of concessions?  Obama has short-circuited bankruptcy's shock-and-awe function . ... And not just in this case . [ via RCP ] ...  3:33 P.M.


That Mid-term CW in Full:

Old CW: Wow, Corzine's a goner. Voters are pissed.

New CW: Mixed message! Mixed message!

Next CW: What do midterms mean, anyway?

2:21 P.M.


Uncensored Twitter Vitriol Unleashed! Someone calls Stephen Fry "a bit ... boring." Can't have that. ... More evidence that many celebrities have  skins of pre-Internet thinness . It seems plausible that they would have to be insulated--or have their public insulated --from what's really tweeted about them. ... 2:21 P.M.


Hostages to Fortune: Mid-term Edition  [E.A.]

[ NPR Host: ...[N]ext week, the off-year election could be a political weathervane for the Obama administration. ...  E.J., what do you - what do you find of interest in next Tuesday's elections?]


I think the weathervane is going to be going in circles in the end. I mean, what you're looking at in New Jersey, an embattled Democratic governor, Jon Corzine, on today's numbers is likely to squeak out a narrow victory. He's run a very, very tough campaign against Republican Chris Christie. It's as if Corzine lost the referendum on himself, then he turned it into a referendum on Christie, and Christie lost that one. And there's a third party candidate called Chris Daggett who's drawing off enough votes that Corzine will come through. And Corzine has hugged Barack Obama.
--E.J. Dionne, All Things Considered , Friday Oct. 30

John Corzine by all estimation is going to be reelected Governor of New Jersey .

--Walter Shapiro, KCRW's Which Way L.A.? , Thursday, October 22  **

Reader submissions accepted. (Email to Mickey underscore Kaus at MSN dot com). ...

P.S. I was sure this Bob Shrum column would yield a potentially embarrassing quote, riddled as it was by the assumption that Gov. Corzine was headed to unexpected victory (because unlike Creigh Deeds he "refuses to yield on core Democratic values.") But it's worded very carefully. ...

**--Maybe Shapiro left out the qualifiers speaking on a radio show? Here's the written version : "Aided by a superior Democratic get-out-the-vote drive, Corzine is now widely expected to prevail ..."   2:16 P.M


Too Catty to Twitter--The mask of adopted authority slips: Someone who admits he thought the Ford Fiesta was "already out" --i.e. being sold in the U.S.--is maybe not the go-to expert to explain the "5 Reasons Ford Bounced Back." ... 2:14 P.M.

"[M]ore people read the Newark Star-Ledger than watch Anderson Cooper": Jerry Skurnik claims I've failed to see the forest for the lede (about CNN's last place finish ). The real story is how few people watch CNN and MSNBC and FOX combined

And it’s not like the bigger names in Cable are reaching a vast audience either. The "giants" of cable news do much better but still reach a puny number of viewers (O’Reilly, Beck & Hannitty reach 2-3 million a night) in a country where 130 million voted for President last year.

Skurnik claims this reinforces his theory of the growing gap between the "two electorates"-- the tiny minority of super/faster informed politicos and the vast mass of less up-to-speed voters. But the driver of the two-electorate phenomenon isn't so much the increased knowledge of the superinformed, its the decrease (or leave-it-until-the-last-minute delay) in the common knowledge of the less informed, no?  Sure, cable news' audience is tiny in a nation of 130 million voters. It's small compared to the 20 million who watch broadcast network news. But even that 20 million is small in a nation of 130 million voters ! What about the other 110 million? There's your lede! (They used to watch Walter Cronkite or Huntley/Brinkley. Now they don't. Do they remain relatively uninformed, or inform themselves at the last minute--and if so, how? On the Web? If so, where? ... Word of mouth from neighbors? Neighbors in the first electorate? Neighbors who watch cable news? ...)

P.S.: I'm not so sure about Skurnik's near-CW point that

Cable news does sometimes play an important role in our politics. But that’s only when a story they report gets picked up by those parts of the media that bloggers & cable news say is dead or dying.

I suspect Dede Scozzafava might disagree. Did the conservative rebellion in her district gain unstoppable momentum because of coverage in the broadcast and newsprint MSM? ... Update: No! It was New Media ! [ via Insta ] ...   2:12 P.M.




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