Friday, June 11, 2010

The Greene Situation

I think it's still a good question where the money for Alvin Greene's filing fee came from but once he got on the ballot I don't think it took a lot of chicanery for him to win the primary.

Vic Rawl may on paper have clearly been the superior candidate but he wasn't known much beyond political insider circles. When we polled the South Carolina Senate race two weeks before the primary Rawl had only 4% favorable name recognition with Democrats in the state. We could make up just about any name and ask their favorability on a poll and get 4% so that more or less amounts to zero name recognition.

In a contest where both candidates have no name recognition somebody's going to win and people's votes are going to be based on pretty random, nonintellectual judgments. I don't put much stock in the theory that there was a plot among Republican voters to go cast votes for Greene in the primary or that the GOP in some other way helped Greene would have been almost impossible for any sort of campaign activity to go completely undetected. At the end of the day this is just what happens in a race where neither candidate runs much of a campaign- someone wins and there's no great explanation why.


Anonymous said...

The most reasonable explanation yet. Thanks Tom! I'm scratching my head on this already for a while.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you seem to be right on this point, but still.... But we can't have an honest and frank discussion for the fear of being called racist.

Josh Putnam said...

I'm glad someone else has had the "Operation Chaos" thought. But the idea that that could be kept so quiet, to me, removes it from consideration.

What is interesting to me is turnout. In a year when the expectation is that Democrats are not as motivated as Republicans, it is puzzling to me that the turnout numbers among Democrats are higher in 2010 than in the primaries in either 2006 or 2008. They are comparable to the numbers from 2004, but that was a year when Democrats had a name candidate in Inez Tenenbaum running.

Total Turnout (Democratic Primary):

Beyond that, one would expect a fairly even distribution of votes for both candidates when both are unknown. Greene won all but four counties and cleared 60% in 29 of 46 counties. That doesn't seem random to me.

I'm looking at the county by county numbers right now and should have something posted on Frontloading HQ later this afternoon.

*The numbers here are all for top of the ballot races. In '04, '08 and '10 those were Senate races. However, with no Senate seat up in 2006, the gubernatorial primary numbers were used.

Anonymous said...

Please poll Indiana Senate! Please, I beg of you!

Anonymous said...

'It is just one of those things' is a lame explanation because of a willful blindness. Grant that the Democratic candidate has zero name recognition in the primary. If the Republicans pay some oddball ringer to put his name on the ballot and pick up his registration fee, a random outcome is that half the time, Republicans waste their money and half the time, the ringer wins the primary. Come the general election, the choice is between the real Republican and the Republican-operated oddball.

Under ordinary circumstances, DeMint shouldn't be able to lose the general election to a relative unknown real Democrat in South Carolina. Every once in a while though, the incumbent gets caught in an airport bathroom fellating a fellow traveler or heads off to hike the Appalachian trail.

What the Republicans have bought here is a little insurance in case DeMint gets caught doing something between now and the election with the proverbial dead girl or live boy.

Whether a coin-operated ringer is illegal, I don't know but it is a dirty trick. Which is to say, just another day at the office for the Republicans.

DBL said...

You don't think it was ingenious for the Republicans to put out a candidate who spent no money, had no website, made no phone calls, did no interviews, and no one can remember having a campaign event? Don't you know that's the way you win elections?... Wait a sec. You're in on it too. jim Clyburn will be sending the U.S. Attorney over to talk to you.

(Your site won't allow me to sign in any more?)

Christian Liberty said...

Re: SC turnout

"Republican turnout was much higher than in recent state primaries, while Democratic turnout was much lower. The numbers and the Republican percentage of two-party primary turnout:
Demo turnout Repub turnout % Repub
2010 Governor 188,765 421,256 69
2008 President 532,151 445,499 46
2008 Senator 147,312 280,861 66
2006 Governor 138,343 247,821 64
2004 President 293,843
2004 Senator 167,790 294,669 64
2002 Governor 316,255
2000 President 573,101
That shows a pretty strong Republican advantage, comparable to or larger than in other election years when Republicans have run strong in South Carolina.
The bottom line: Robust Republican turnout in South Carolina, Nevada and California leaves Republicans in relatively strong position in the balance of enthusiasm in those states in comparison with where they were in the 2006 and 2008 cycles. And the robust Republican turnout in New Jersey might say something positive about the strength of feeling on the policies of first-year Governor Chris Christie."

Rasmus said...

He had 18% unfavorables though, and that IS significant.

wt said...

No one thought this guy had a chance to win, so why would the GOP waste money putting him on the ballot? Why this race, why this guy, why now?

Why aren't big Democratic donors the focus here? Having a contested primary raised Rawl's ability to fundraise (double the contribution limit), and winning the primary would have given Rawl a bounce and a little name recognition (his name wouldn't have even been on the ballot if it was uncontested).

No evidence for this theory? Funny you say that, since there's no evidence for Clyburn's theory either.

Anonymous said...

You didn't post this month and last month where the generic congressional ballot is standing. Can you please make a blog post on it?

Ranjit said...


Your numbers seem interesting but you tend to forget one big factor, namely "carelessness" of democratic establishment. The question should be, who neglected to do any checks on these candidates. It was not like there was 100 candidates and there was no time.

DBL said...

They are examining the ballots now. If there is something funny it's likely at that point, not anything else. There's no evidence anyone paid the guy or that he had any contact with anyone. If it were a fix they didn't do the things you need to do to win.

On the other hand, some clever computer geek might've figured out how to change the result.

Silence Dogood said...

Mr. Jensen, your own polling data from this poll noted that 64% of the people who participated were either republicans or independents...therefore is it accurate to use the favorability ratings from this polling information to make an opinion as to what Rawl's favorability was and name recognition was in the Democratic primary??? Clearly much of his unfavorability could have come from Republicans. Also, your poll only notes favorability, not name recognition, by that same theory the 21% of people from this polling information who were "not sure" of DeMint's voting record, should be taken to mean they were also unfamiliar with it - which could be a very incorect extrapolation of the date based on the question asked.

For the record Rawl also lost by 60%-40% margins to Greene in some voting precints within his own County Council Dist (no. 6) in Charleston where he was elected in 2008 - now that strikes me as very odd. Please don't tell me his name recognition and favorability among participating demcratic priamry voters there was also neglible...

Any thoughts or responses?

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