Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spinmiesters Show You How to Spin It in Rep. Senate Primary

Earlier I reported to you that State Senator Kim Hendren, one of a crowd of contenders for the U.S. Senate nomination to oppose Sen. Blanche Lincoln, had fronted himself $200,000 out of his personal fortune to hire some expensive campaign consultants. We now see the fruit of their handy-work.

They have release some tidbits of information about a poll they conducted. They combined that with carefully worded statements which support the idea that Hendren and Sen. Gilbert Baker are neck and neck for the nomination with no one else even that close. My estimation is that the race is still wide open until Jim Holt gets in, and that it will be all Jim Holt with a desperate attempt by the establishment to rally around Baker in a two-man contest after that.

For one thing, the statement acknowledges that "a large percentage of voters are undecided". For another, I am convinced that Holt was not given as an option. They are forced to fallback on the "of the voters who have made up their mind" routine. My guess is that about one-quarter to one-third of the voters have made up their mind (and a lot of those "undecideds" were because Holt was not listed as an option).

So let's say 33% of primary voters have already made up their mind. A third of those have decided for Hendren. That's 11% of the likely GOP primary voters. Heck, if they over-sampled Benton County as I suspect, then a good share of those votes are members of the Senator's extended family! At the lower end of 1/4th of voters having made up their mind, that is about 8%, which is very close to the "very favorable" ID rating that Hendren had in the earlier Rasmussen poll.

Don't get me wrong, I like Hendern (the Senator, not his brother the judge who committed an abominable miscarriage of justice in the Wayne Fincher case). Still, this is spin. Without Holt in the race, Hendren would win in Benton County, and lose in the rest of the state. Benton County has a big slice of the vote, maybe 30%, but that is not enough to make a LEGITIMATE claim of front runner status. It is just enough to spin into something if you poll before the rest of the state has made up its mind, and before the best-known candidate that many are waiting for has hopped into the race.

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