Polling the Clusterfuck

Yesterday I said there were no MI polls. Well, now there are two, which still support my clusterfuck analysis, but also suggest that the Mitten might finish off Mitt. Here are the two polls:

Rossman Group/MIRS/Denno-Noor
January 6 and 7, MOE 5.8%

Huck 23%
Mitt 22%
McCain 18%
Rudy 8%
Frederick of Hollywood 4%
Paul 3%
Hunter 1%
Uncommitted 13%
Unsure 7%

Hillary 48%
Kooch 3%
Gravel 1%
Uncommitted 28%
Unsure 11%
Other 10%

Strategic Vision
January 4-6, MOE 4%

John McCain 29%
Mitt Romney 20%
Mike Huckabee 18%
Rudy Giuliani 13%
Fred Thompson 5%
Ron Paul 5%
Duncan Hunter 1%
Undecided 9%

So let’s start with the Democrats (only MIRS polled Dems). The poll was pre-NH, so you might assume that Hillary would pick up a bit for her NH victory, which might put her over 50%. However, state pols have really just started their campaigns to get Dems to vote uncommitted, including the rather amusingly named, Detroiters for Uncommitted Voters and radio ads from Congressman Conyers. As more people realize what "uncommitted" means, Hillary may well lose some points to … no one. What I’m most interested in with the MIRS is the 10% who voted "other," which is what I’d answer if I were given a Democratic ballot and asked who I planned to vote for if I planned to cross-over and add to the Republican clusterfuck. In other words, I take this poll to suggest, very very very roughly, that the Republicans might be hosting at least 10% of self-identified Democrats. Though of course, who they’ll vote for is anyone’s guess.

Onto the Republican clusterfuck. After Iowa but before NH, Strategic Vision has McCain winning, Romney and Huck tied, and Rudy getting more votes than he got anywhere else. That pretty much reflects one real change since mid-December (in a different poll), McCain gaining 20 points over Christmas, yet before his NH win. The poll included "700 Republican primary voters," but it doesn’t say whether that means 700 Republicans who plan to vote in the primary, or 700 people who say they plan to vote in the Republican primary. If it’s the latter, it might explain the huge McCain surge…

But then MIRS shows Huckabee ahead, perhaps a delayed surge resulting form his Iowa win (I guess it takes Republicans two or three days to actually read the leading news). In the MIRS poll, Huckabee is winning MI, with the two people who (until yesterday) were the only two contestants coming a very close second and third, but with McCain solidly third. MIRS appears to have separated people by party before asking them who they’d vote for, so presumably this may reflect an absence of any Democratic cross-overs.

Now, presumably, McCain has picked up some support from his win the other night (though, as a potential front-runner, will he lose cross-over voters trying to mess with the Republicans??). So if I had to guess, I’d favor him to win this primary, though either of the other two still have a shot.

But that doesn’t change the most important detail from this polling:

If Huck exceeds expectations–even marginally–then he can probably knock Mitt out of the race. Huck has a real possibility of bumping Mitt to third place in his Daddy’s state, which I gotta believe would chase him from the race.

And then we’d be left with Huck versus McCain. A Baptist preacher who will chase away the corporatists versus a war-monger who will chase away the nativists and evangelicals. While I think either Huck or McCain may do well in the General election (I’d rather be running against Mitt), I think a two-way contest between Huck and McCain has the real potential to cause the GOP a while lot of angst between now and whenever they do get to the General.

I gotta believe that Huck looked at this polling and realized he had the ability to hit Mitt with a real body blow, taking out the one other guy who can appeal to the values voters. Which makes this very interesting indeed.

54 replies
  1. radiofreewill says:

    I think you’re right on, EW! Michigan is about to lash old Mitt to the roof of their Primary Bus and drive him out of the race.

    Their’s just no way the Goopers could comprehend Mitt the Mormon outlasting Huck the Christian, plain and simple.

    That would be straying too far from the Ideological Lullaby that Bush the Shepherd croons to his Sheep, and it would make them even more nervous than they already are…

    • emptywheel says:

      I think our weirdo Christians might have happily voted for Mitt, with no other choices. AFAIK, they’re not particularly anti-Mormon (after all, MI was once known to elect a Mormon governor, they tell me).

      But Mitt is wandering the state telling Michiganders he’ll solve immigration. Immigration isn’t that big an issue here, bc there are no jobs, and consequently, fewer undocumented workers (though ask Mitt if he wants the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw to employ Michiganders, and I bet he’d say he’s happy that they employ underpaid Jamaicans). Outsourcing of jobs are a problem.

      Meanwhile, Huck is running the ad best designed to knock Mitt out at the knees:

      I’m Mike Huckabee, and I approved this message because I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.

      Somehow, I think Huck knows his audience better.

      • masaccio says:

        I live in Tennessee, and you would be amazed at how many upscale mainstream Baptists believe that Mormonism is a cult. The Mormons I know exhibit normal social behavior; they don’t look like Jim Jones types to me, so maybe people here will follow EW’s line. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

        • emptywheel says:

          But we don’t have Baptists so much, we’ve got Dutch Reform. I think the Baptists, in particular, are anti-Mormon.

          I actually lived for two years in SLC, UT, as well as inland SoCal. So I’m quite familiar with the oddities and pluses of Mormon culture. But one of my closest friends in UT, a “Jack” Mormon, reminded me of nothing so much as my best friend from SFCA, an escaped Southern Baptist, both of whom had left for the religion’s overbearing take on race. And there’s a lot of similarity, as an outsider, in Mormon and SoBaptist culture, I think, with a similar fondness for green jello and sherbert products. Though, as a “Papist” living with a Jew (Mormons believe they’re a lost tribe of Israel, so love love love Jews like lost cousins), Mormons were always much nicer to me than the SoBaptists I encounter around my bro-in-law’s place, who all treat me first and foremost as an evil Papist.

    • Stephen Parrish says:

      Borrowing from Greek mythology, I’m wondering whether you suppose that the ideological lullaby that you mentioned will sound like the sirens’ songs if they were heard while navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.

  2. phred says:

    I must say that MitWit pulling his ads from other states does suggest that he views MI as a “do or die” situation for him. What is that I smell? Ah yes, the unmistakable whiff of desperation…

    Sounds to me like Huck’s message will carry better with the blue collar folks. But I’m curious, blue collar labor is historically Dem (no idea what they have been in recent years out your way). Do you think they will gravitate to Huck and stay over on the Dem side of the aisle?

    • emptywheel says:

      Two points. First, I think Mitt’s advisors think that if he continues to contest after losing MI, he’ll hurt his brand. So it may not be desperation–or at least you’re not supposed to think it is.

      As to labor. Yeah, though remember, MI is home to the Reagan Democrat. Plus, think of 1) all the former manufacturing workers who have been let go, and 2) the fact that there is no Dem on the ballot. Plus, MI does have it’s own brand of wingnuts, so…

      • BlueStateRedHead says:

        Ordinary wingnuts or the wingnuts who are corporatists, like Prince and the ultra-Calvinists, perhaps?
        I keep asking this because it is a particularly MI phenomenon.

        • emptywheel says:

          The leaders of the Dutch Reform community–Prince and DeVos and Van Andel and the like–are corporatist wingnuts, and tried to get the party to go for Mitt when Giuliani was winning big back in the last millenium. But it looks like big numbers of those Dutch Reform wingnuts are moving towards Huck.

          Understand, too, that Mitt feels a lot like DeVos did last gubernatorial–so I suspect people have had enough of the rich fake candidate thing.

  3. bmaz says:

    There has been a lot of inquiry over the validity of the voting process in New Hampshire due to the somewhat surprising results. Personally I see no reason to question the NH results on that basis, I just think the mood of the NH electorate was shifting around to fast for polls to catch up in the extremely brief period between Iowa and NH.

    That said however, the validity of electronic voting tabulation is something we do need to keep our eye on and keep the government’s feet to the fire on. A good friend, Apollo 13, at the blog I occasionally contribute to, Proctoring Congress (Watching Those We Chose) has done an excellent post on the horrid situation in Georgia as to electronic voting and the citizens group that has filed an interesting legal challenge. Give Apollo 13 a read on this, it is worth your time. Drop a comment too if you have time, Apollo would love the feedback.

    • klynn says:

      bmaz, we put in a call to our county board of elections the other day. We have yet to learn an outcome. We received absentee ballots in the mail without requesting them. We are waiting to find out “how” it happened. Any ideas?

      Of course, it’s in Ohio…

      • bmaz says:

        Switch to the Pac-10! I actually do have a responsible thought. Call, or check the wesbsite, of the Attorney General’s office. Every State I am familiar with has an elections division. It may have a different name, but that is what it is. Ask to talk to someone. Should be better than trying to deal with the Sec of State,

    • nomolos says:

      That said however, the validity of electronic voting tabulation is something we do need to keep our eye on and keep the government’s feet to the fire on.

      We also have to figure out a way to get rid of even the perception that elections are not buggered with. How that can be done I have no idea.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      Good points! Some of us expressed serious concern that 81% of the votes had been counted on renamed Diebold devices and caught the wrath of DHinMI, who apparently knows a lot about NH vote recording and counting, not to mention has access to precinct by precinct stats. It’s a good and instructive read, I’ll be sitting on a pillow musing over it for many days to come ;^} Enough with the “Diebold Hacked the NH Primary” Lunacy Dang that linky feature is useful!

  4. BayStateLibrul says:

    Haven’t the pollsters lose their pojo?

    On the Huckster,

    “Either master the devil or throw him out.” Hamlet, III.iv

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, in the macro sense. And as I keep saying–I don’t know how you poll the cross-overs accurately, and it is almost certain that cross-overs will be significant here.

      So AFAIK the only thing that this polling tells us is 1) how many people refuse to answer the Dem ballot as a straight Dem, and 2) that the Republican race appears tobe tightening into a three-way race, just in time for Huck to waltz in and knee cap Mitt.

  5. bmaz says:

    There is not much you can say about the GOP field; pretty sad. I don’t like Huckabee’s politics much, but I’ll give him this much, he comes off as a decent and somewhat genuine person at least. McCain is such a self serving, arrogant, fairly dense, pompous ass. I can’t even describe to you the extent of how much this is really the case; but suffice it to say, the greater American public doesn’t see the half of it. As to Romney, I am not sure if I have ever seen a less genuine, say anything, hollow shell of a man in my life. In light of the fact that I have spent the last two plus decades in the realm of criminal and tort lawyers, that is saying quite a bit….

    • phred says:

      Yep, that’s our MitWit, an empty suit. As for his brand, right about now, Men’s Wearhouse could handily take him 3 falls out of 5. Speaking of which EW, kind of a sad commentary really that Mitt’s ship could sink after only 4 states, yet somehow his “brand” can hop into a life raft and wait for our collective amnesia to set in… Sigh.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      Be afraid for your Huckster. Horton (and not the one who hatched the egg) Haunts Huckabee on Fox tonight. see my @ 16.

  6. Loo Hoo. says:

    Kos endorses MitWit: (love that Bmaz!)

    In 1972, Republican voters in Michigan decided to make a little mischief, crossing over to vote in the open Democratic primary and voting for segregationist Democrat George Wallace, seriously embarrassing the state’s Democrats. In fact, a third of the voters (PDF) in the Democratic primary were Republican crossover votes. In 1988, Republican voters again crossed over, helping Jesse Jackson win the Democratic primary, helping rack up big margins for Jackson in Republican precincts. (Michigan Republicans can clearly be counted on to practice the worst of racial politics.) In 1998, Republicans helped Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer — quack Geoffrey Feiger — win his Democratic primary, thus guaranteeing their hold on the governor’s mansion that year.

    With a history of meddling in our primaries, why don’t we try and return the favor. Next Tuesday, January 15th, Michigan will hold its primary. Michigan Democrats should vote for Mitt Romney, because if Mitt wins, Democrats win. How so?

    Sorry for no linky. I’m on a toy computer.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      Linky to Kos and his mischief. Not sure what kind of toy computer could disable that little 3 link chain icon in the grey above where I’m typing. Highlight some text, in this case ‘linky’, click the link and paste the URL. Even works on a Mac!!! 8^)

        • watercarrier4diogenes says:

          Sorry to be so late responding. What you want to highlight is the text you’d like to appear as the blue ‘link’ text. Then hit the chain icon between the quote icon and the ‘abc-checkmark’ icon for spellchecking (mostly unused here ). It pops down a window that you can paste the URL in, and when you hit OK on it, the whole HTML ‘a href’ text is created for you. As long as you’re not using Win95 and Exploder 1.0 on that Dell, it should work OK.

    • emptywheel says:

      We returned the favor ourselves in 2000, crossing over to vote for McCain. I think most pollsters think it’ll happen again. I don’t know WTF will happen with cross-overs, frankly.

  7. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Crossposted on FDL, sorry for duplication but the threads are coming fast and furious and I am hearing from people who are loosing track
    eyes on the prize. bad and badder news for Rethugs. except if you’re Karl Rove. and MoDo does something miraculous.

    Why the only dem trash talking should be about football. Because the republicans do it better. Rove racist attack on Obamain WSJ. just posted by TPM.


    Also a violent out-Willie-Horton anti-Huckabee ad to air before and after the Rethug debate. also on TPM.

    and on MSM, seems MoDo’s Derry, NH eyewitness report on HRC’s victory party was written from Jerusalem. Snary about miracles or apparating welcome. Cf.

    C’ya later.work calls.

  8. pseudonymousinnc says:

    As to labor. Yeah, though remember, MI is home to the Reagan Democrat.

    A friend originally from around Detroit told me that the difference between there and the south is that you have UAW stickers on pickups, not Confederate flags.

    I sense that the GOP will wish after Michigan that they’d struck it from the calendar, because the opportunity for clusterfucking is so obvious. Getting Romney out of the race this early will cause one kind of mess for the big money GOPpers; keeping him in might be even worse, especially as Huckabee faces up to the Dumond case in SC.

    • emptywheel says:

      The Northern HQ of the Klan is about 40 miles north of me here in People’s Republic of Ann Arbor. And we have what at least were (a few years ago) the most segregated large (Detroit) and medium-sized (Livonia) cities in the country.

  9. LabDancer says:

    Last night Colbert un-writer-assisted and all managed to “force” HuckaDisorderedBee into confirming their previous agreement that if the Arkansas Ayatollah succeeds in gaining the Rub nomination he will pick the Real Favourite Son of South Carolina [& some place in southern Ontario with a “Major” junior hockey team] as his running mate.

    One of the few plus signs in the Huckster’s snake oil kit is that he has been able to both “get” Colbert much better than Delay did, & has enough courage to return to Colbert’s well.

    But as Pathetic Pelosi concluded a year or so ago, & O’Reilly learned only too, try to take on young Master Colbert & you will loooooose because he’s waaaaaayyyy too quick – & waaaayyy too PRINCIPLED.

    If the Hucklehead manages to fool the Religiotic Right Rub Base into taking him to the Promised Land, I have absolutely no doubt that Colbert is completely prepared to carry his parody right into the Rub National Convention. It’s not that the man knows no fear – it’s that he’s completely come to terms with it.

    And if it happens, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving criminal enterprise.

  10. whitebeard says:

    Is your report of the Democrats right? No one between Hillary 48% and Kucinich 3%? Obama and Edwards not even on the list? This poll is either a HUGE outlier or a big typo or three. One piece of evidence might be that the link to it is broken.

    • emptywheel says:


      Obama and Edwards aren’t ON the ballot. They didn’t want to piss off NH and IA, so they withdrew from the ballot (not like NH and IA seem to have retaliated against Hillary, which ought to tell some folks something).

      So, as the only viable candidate on the ballot, she polled at under 50%.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, I’ve been saying all along that no one can poll this–it’s not a question of “outlier” but a question of impossible to poll–mostly bc there’s not a model for who will cross-over and who will figure to vote “uncommitted” (which is the only way to vote for Obama/Edwards).

      THe party bosses are campaigning to get people to vote uncommitted, so that’ll change things. But there’s simply no way to poll it reliably, IMO.

  11. JGabriel says:

    EW, as already noted, Kos is urging readers to ratfuck the Michigan Republican Primaries.

    What’s your take on that?

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t know what EW’s take is, and it’s her state and she knows it far better, but my take is let the pukes be; they are quite capable of screwing themselves up, why mess with it and give credence to any claims we took the low road.

      • JGabriel says:


        I don’t know what EW’s take is, and it’s her state and she knows it far better, but my take is let the pukes be; they are quite capable of screwing themselves up, why mess with it and give credence to any claims we took the low road.

        That was my initial take on it, too. On further reflection, I see part of the problem as being that primarily (pun intended) Republicans set up the primary rules in Michigan to enable their own ratfuckery in Dem primaries.

        The rules being what they are, asking or expecting Dems not to participate in the Pugs Primary, especially when there’s no delegates at stake, is asking a bit too of them in the way noblesse oblige.

        If we want rules in place that prevent cross-party primary ratfucking, then we should work to change the current rules – which I would support. In the meantime, playing by a higher standard than the rules on the ground just means we pay a higher penalty, while the Pugs get away scott-free with the ratfucking.

          • JGabriel says:

            Heh. Point taken.

            Although I do care a little bit about the “We shouldn’t act like Republicans angle,” ultimately we have to play by the same ground rules as they do unless, and until, the rules are changed.

            • watercarrier4diogenes says:

              and it’s not likely that those rules would have much chance of changing if the Rethugs aren’t feeling a little pain, at least enough to see the ‘error of their ways’. Not that they wouldn’t try to revert the rules to what they are now if they ever saw it would be advantageous.

    • emptywheel says:

      Eh. I think it’s a fine idea for people who aren’t really party activists or real Obama or Edwards supporters. But for those who are, I really think they ought to vote uncommitted simply because it’s the only way to make hte primary less of a clusterfuck than it is.

      I voted for McCain in 2000, and would do so again if the circumstances were the same (the Dem nominee was already decided, and I thought it worthwhile to have a campaign finance person in the race). But I won’t do it this time. I think I’ll vote uncommitted.

  12. JGabriel says:


    I voted for McCain in 2000, and would do so again if the circumstances were the same (the Dem nominee was already decided, and I thought it worthwhile to have a campaign finance person in the race).

    That makes sense.

    Allegedly, Huckabee has been calling Democrats in MI, slaggin Romney, and asking them to cross-register and vote for him. (Not sure how much credence to give that claim; it was reported by ‘Ross In Detroit’ in the TPM comments section.)

    Outside of anything having to do with the Kos call to action, if Huckabee is making such calls, it does seem like a good reason for some Dems to register in the Pug Prime and cast a protest vote for Romney.

    • emptywheel says:

      You know, if Huck can find me, that might tip me over into Romney land. Otherwise, I’m uncommitted.

      To date, I’ve gotten inundated with the Mitt commercials, but have received just one mailer–from McCain, for whom, after all, I actually have voted for once.

      • bmaz says:

        Thats hilarious. I have voted in every election St. McPompous has run in, with him on the ballot every time, since he walked out on his first wife and plopped his crappy bag down here; and you have voted for him more than I have.

  13. JGabriel says:

    Huh. Now *I’ve* got the ambiguous pronoun error.

    The first second of the second paragraph should read;

    “Allegedly, Huckabee has been calling Democrats in MI, slaggin Romney, and asking them to cross-register and vote for Huckabee.”

    • Rayne says:

      Interesting. Explains the rash of mystery phone calls I’m getting that I refuse to pick up since the caller isn’t identified — all push polls for Huck.

      UGLY at the local party meeting tonight. Rank-and-file are really pissed off about the primary, and are all over the map as to how they’ll vote. Whites are more likely to use the dartboard approach to voting; African-Americans more likely to go ‘Uncommitted’, but that’s on a very small sample.

      And the one guy volunteering for HRC’s campaign badmouthed the DNC right and left, couldn’t find any blame to assign to anybody in the congressional delegation or state government about this mess. Have a suspicion this is a meme within this particular campaign.

      • emptywheel says:

        That blame the DNC move is interesting. How would they expect HoHO to have dealt with this? After all, if we schleps have to abide by party discipline, why not a Senator and DNC Delegate.

  14. JohnLopresti says:

    I found a humorously draw map of the voting districts in the midwest on a Danish blog. Also learned Kucinich discovered the subcontract for primary canvass machine count of ballots is based upon the Premier equipment known formerly as a hackable Diebold machine. But the principle is to vote; the apparat discipline that confounded FL and MI primary early dates could amount to votes for HClinton as the centrist choice. I still think the message from IA was youthful promise, one that should resonate well in the primaries.

  15. JohnLopresti says:

    In NV the internet provides an interesting glimpse at another machine politics internecine maneuver in which the educator unions centrists attempt to shift caucus delegate apportionment at the 11th hour to at-large instead of district-based, effectively disenfranchising 60k service worker union members in the entertainment strip whose participation would be assured to shift the candidate selection more toward new wave candidates. The hotel workers are taking the secondary school teachers to court about that influence exercise.

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