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Insider Interview: Democratic Pollster Pete Brodnitz

Everything pollster Pete Brodnitz needed to know about the 2005 Virginia governor's race he learned two years ago in Nevada.

pollster Pete Brodnitz
Can Democratic pollster Pete Brodnitz apply the lessons he learned in Nevada and Virginia to help the Democrats reclaim the Senate this year? (Courtesy Pete Brodnitz)

Brodnitz, who handled Gov. Tim Kaine's (D) survey research in 2005, spent much of the previous year polling for the Nevada Democratic caucus -- several of whose members faced tough races in 2004 after supporting an $833 million tax increase proposed by Gov. Kenny Guinn (R). Not only did Brodnitz's clients win, but he also helped knock off two Republicans who had been the most ardent opponents of the tax increase.

"A lot of my views about what we were going to do in Virginia were informed by my views in Nevada," he said.

What did Brodnitz do in Virginia? Elect Kaine in the most high-profile off-year race of 2005 -- a victory that turned Kaine into a national figure and Brodnitz into one of the hottest pollsters in the business. "The Kaine win has been very, very good to me," he said.

In the wake of Kaine's victory, Brodnitz met with a variety of candidates and party officials to download what he had learned from the race.

The most important lesson? Democrats can win support from religious voters by working early on to show that their candidates are people of faith and then moving on to other issues important to this key voting bloc. In January and February 2005, the Kaine campaign ran radio ads in rural parts of the state focused on his work as a missionary and emphasizing his personal faith. Kaine also spoke at the Family Foundation, a socially conservative advocacy organization based in Richmond.

"People have preconceptions about Democrats, and if you don't disabuse people of their preconceptions that's all they have to go on," Brodnitz explained. "Especially with white, church-going women. They were were concerned about their children and public schools [so] if we could get past the issue of faith, Kaine could talk to them about those issues."

Tax policy was another issue that Kaine addressed head-on and was able to blunt the traditional Republican advantage, according to Brodnitz. Approximately one-third of all Kaine's paid advertising touched on taxes and how they fit into the Democrat's overall fiscal policy. By contrast, former state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) "would talk about taxes in an absolute way," Brodnitz explained.

Since the Kaine victory, Brodnitz has signed on a number of high-profile clients -- most notably Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D); the Tennessean, who is running for Senate this year, called the pollster on election night 2005 to confirm the deal. Ford is running for the open seat of Sen. Bill Frist (R) and is unopposed in the August Democratic primary; Republicans are headed for a three-way clash for the nomination.

Brodnitz is also returning to the site of his 2005 success, handling the survey research for former Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb, who is hoping to challenge Sen. George Allen (R) in the fall. Webb must first get past former technology lobbyist Harris Miller in the June 13 Democratic primary.

For much of the past year, Brodnitz has also been working on the Rhode Island Senate campaign of Secretary of State Matt Brown, who has struggled in recent months to stay afloat amid major cash shortages and staff shakeups. He is a major underdog against former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse in the state's September primary.

While Brodnitz, 41, only became a household name in 2005, he had been toiling in the trenches of Democratic consulting for more than a decade. He spent most of his formative professional career (1993-2004) under the shingle of Penn Schoen & Berland, handling a wide variety of clients -- from the Democratic Leadership Council to Kaine's 2001 run for lieutenant governor to Philippines President Gloria Arroyo's 2004 election.

In July 2004 Brodnitz decided to strike out on his own, forming Modern Strategies. "I thought it was time to have my own shop with my own clients and my own approach," he said. Brodnitz started using a phone bank operated by another former Penn & Schoen alum named Joel Benenson to make his polling calls, and over time the decision was made to join forces. In March 2005 Brodnitz joined Benenson Strategy Group full time.

If Democrats have any realistic chance of winning back the Senate in 2006, much rests on Brodnitz's shoulders. Five Republican-held seats (Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Montana, Ohio and Missouri) seem within reach, but to win back control Democrats need to add a sixth -- and Tennessee and Virginia (along with Arizona) are the most mentioned.

The key ingredient to winning campaigns, according to Brodnitz? "Making it really clear to voters, using a simple message, what the choices [are] before them."

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 24, 2006; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  Insider Interview , Senate  
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Comments

funny ringtones

Posted by: xww6ndo@mail.ru | August 18, 2006 7:18 AM | Report abuse

To Wendy:

In regard to the CBS piece about Bush's National Guard Service, Dan Rather's only mistake was backing down. There's no doubt that Bush got preferential treatment getting into the Guard and then brazenly walked away from his commitment. The memos used by CBS were faked copies of memos written by Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, now dead, who was Bush's commander. Killian's secretary, Marian Carr Knox confirmed that,while the memos themselves were fake, the information they contained was accurate. Gary Trudeau has offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can come forward and say he/she served with Bush between May 1972 and October 1972. No one has emerged to claim the prize. That's because Bush was AWOL. He did everything but put on a dress to keep from going to Vietnam.

Posted by: kathy from St. louis | April 26, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I began to read this article about Pete Brodnitz in eager anticipation of perhaps learning something useful and maybe even profound about the way that Democrats should conduct their politics.

I finished it feeling somewhat demoralized, having absorbed yet another tired profile of a triangulating wheeler-dealer living inside the self-congratulatory bubble of the Washington, D.C. Beltway.

While the Post did mention that Brodnitz is currently advising Rhode Island Senate candidate Brown, it failed to also inform its readers that Brown has recently been ensnared in some very questionable campaign funding shenanigans involving laundered donations from the state Democratic parties in Maine and Hawaii. Mr. Brown, who was ostensibly running on a "clean elections" platform, has only proved once again that hypocrisy is the ultimate compliment that vice pays to virtue.

But perhaps the most discouraging thing I learned about Brodnitz was that he has also served both the corrupt Philippine President Gloria Arroyo AND the politically tepid Democratic Lleadership Council. That is hardly the stuff of which political confidence can be built amongst the party's grassroots rank-and-file who outside the Beltway, which is where national elections are REALLY won.

I can only hope that what I read has led me to a false conclusion about Pete Brodnitz, and that he is not merely another Democratic Party flavor-of-the-month who will found six years from now peddling his opinions on MSNBC and CNN.

We CAN hope, can't we?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii | April 26, 2006 5:08 AM | Report abuse

Democrats policies of reaching out and helping the poor and those disenfranchised from modern society is a key element to Christian beliefs. My Christian values cause me to be a Democrat. If we Democrats can talk about our moral values and put them against those of Republicans any day of the week and win. Tim Kaine was able to do that and he won in Virginia. We can take back both chambers of congress in 2006. We can win key Governor races like in Ohio that will be the stepping stone for the 2008 Presidential election. We can win the 2008 Presidential election by nominating a candidate that can compete in all 50 states like John Edwards of North Carolina. We can do all of these thing if we preach the moral values of the Democratic Party and work our butt's off. I am excited for what is to come for our party and most importantly our country under Democrat leadership.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | April 25, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Tammy, if you could check your facts, you will find that DNC Chairman, Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi, a member of the House, not the Senate, had nothing to do with booting Paul Hackett from the Democratic Primary Senate race in Ohio.

Also, your assumption of a "Howard Dean/Nancy Pelosi Wing" is also utter nonsense.

Here's what Hackett had to say about Howard Dean, just after he quit the Senate race in Ohio:

MATTHEWS: Did you have the support of Howard Dean, the chairman of the party?

HACKETT: He was always very supportive.

MATTHEWS: Is he supportive of you now?

HACKETT: In the sense that yes.

MATTHEWS: But did he pull the rug out from under you like the other guys did?

HACKETT: No, my take on it is I don't think he really had the ability to influence the...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11476537/

So who was responsible? Sen Schumer and Sen Reid:

Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside...

http://talkleft.com/new_archives/014026.html

Just for the record, I think Schumer's and Reid's behavior towards Paul Hackett and the voters of Ohio was pathetic.

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA | April 25, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Kaine did not win just because Brodnitz the pollster gave him good advice.

As a young man, Kaine spent time in a seminary. Commonsense would be enough to tell you that as a candidate, he should advertise that fact in a Southern state.

Plus, Kaine's opponent, Kirgore, tried to smear Kaine by claiming Kaine would pardon Hitler. That was the last nail in the coffin of Kirgore's self destructive campaign.

Brodnitz may be good, but he is not a miracle worker. He is having a tough time with Webb's VA Senate primary campaign. Could he have picked the wrong candidate to advise?

Webb is a newly converted Democrat, has no experience in politics, and in the 2000 VA Senate race, supported George Allen, the current Republican Senator, who is up for reelection against either Webb or Miller.

On the other Hand, Harris Miller is a life long Democrat, worked in politics much of his life, was instrumental in bringing thousands of high tech jobs to Northern Virginia and the U.S. Plus, Miller is backed by many VA Democratic politicians and has out raised Webb in campaign contributions by almost 2 to 1.

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA | April 25, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Just to let you in on a brewing battle to replace Congressman Oxley, Ohio, Republican in the 4th District. The guy is Nathan Miller, an Iraq war vet, running neck and neck to some wealthy fellow. The point that caught my attention was that he could stand up for President Bush in Congress and explain some success in Iraq. That would be a breathe of fresh air since the Democrats are promoting all the anti-Republican Iraq war vets. Amazing the D party dumped that other Iraq war here in Ohio to give the Congressman a clear shot at Senator DeWine. I guess the D party did not want the people to make up their own minds who the candidate for the Senate would be. The Howard Dean/Pelosi Wing booted Paul Hackett for a member of Congress. I wonder if Hackett will ever endorse any Democrat again since the party tried him so shabbly.

Posted by: Tammy | April 25, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting to read the comments, in some cases much better than the actual story.

As someone who is involved in "local" politics (I run a campaign consulting company and only do non-partisan races at this time) I can say that the key is being relevant.

Let me explain what I mean. Relevance is the process of defining an issue that is a priority to the voters, and then redefining the frame of the issue so it is clear that you understand the issue, and that the voters understand that you understand the issue. Or in Clintonian terms "I feel your pain."

For instance. City A is a small city situated between major freeways. In addition, the larger cities on three sides of it have been doing redevelopment. These two issues have left City A in the position of being a conduit for traffic, but not the beneficiary of any of the traffic (it's going to the new developments in neighboring cities). Since City A has been built out and has no land that it can develop, it is locked in gridlock, frustrating residents, and can not generate any income, or develop any traffic patterns to relieve itself.

Now, in the recent past a number of candidates have run on the "we will solve the traffic problem" platform. And all have been able to accomplish nothing since there is no way to accomplish anything.

We are helping one candidate reframe the issue so that it isn't an issue in the campaign. This reframe will take away the highly charged emotional issue by addressing the facts surroundig it and explaining why at the local level nothing can be accomplished. At the same time the reframe details a clear method of creating additional traffic avenues OUTSIDE the city (in two of the cities that are pouring new development). This will require funding from the State on Interstate transitions and presure from the State government (legislature) on redoing one specific road on the Transit Master Plan for the County.

Unlike the vague promises of prior elections, here there is a detailed message that supports the reframe of the challenge area. Unless the opponents can address the message exactly, we should be able to turn the issue from a hot button emotional issue to one which we control the dialog on.

In much the same way Lamont, in CT, is reframing the sitting Jr. Senator from CT. This is causing the Jr. Senator all sorts of pain (his latest polling shows major losses outside of the margins of error with his positives dropping and his negatives rising in major primary voter demographics). The answer provided by the Jr. Senator was to publicly not rule out the possibility that he will dump his party affiliation and not support Lamont in a win, but activly run against him in a general. Considering his positives are much better within the GOP than within his own party, this might be the best of all routes for him to take. The key question being, will Hillary and others who thought they gave money to a Democrat demand their money back (this would make a large dent in his $4MM+ pot of gold) and at the same time move to support the Democrat (thereby creating a level playing field financially)? And, in this level playing field, just how much of a "turncoat" who supports so many of the Bush Administration policies pick up of Democrats in this very blue state? Finally, this may also have a major effect on the DLC who would have to either take the stand that they support an independent who used to be a leader of the DLC, or support the Democrat (and much of the Jr. Senators funding is from the same people that fund the DLC).

All-in-all, a very interesting race to watch, and one that will have a massive effect on the Democratic establishment.

Posted by: met00 | April 25, 2006 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to point out that I have not worked at The Post for almost eight years now.

Posted by: Janet Brodnitz | April 24, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Carl, wow, can media people be married to campaign people and do their job? Is that ethical? Andrea Mitchell goes to all the lavish GOP stuff with her hubby Alan Greenspan, and I know people question her integrity. And Campbell Brown just got married to Dan Senor, who served with Bremer in Iraq and was mentioned as the next press secretary, so the buzz was that he would not take the job if she had to resign from NBC.
The ethics of the media is already in question, and if Tony Snow becomes the press secretary, all the Democrats and the Bush haters will come out in a mob scene. The airwaves will be anti-FOX for the Tony Snow insider stuff.
Integrity of the media is important, and we all remember that cesspool from Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and the other CBS people who were blinded by their anger at President Bush and abused their power of the press in order to twist an undocumented story to attack the President. If you have a media person as your spouse, you owe it to your employer to resign if your other half is working on political campaigns. It just smells rotten.

Posted by: Wendy | April 24, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Given the three priorities you claim in force, Stop the terrorism, (peace activists believe that is Bush's duty to bow out of his terrorism, at an international level of horror), cut taxes (the debt level is in the trillions largely due to "activities" overseas...which are not "proper"-understatement), and give us the social benies" as a "flinch" vote due to candidates delivered via the polls--likely a reasonable summary, but what about saying WHAT THE PRIORITIES SHOULD BE...and standing for that, and VOTING for that, and telling the flinchers "what for?"

To "Independent Woman"

The flinchers are not likely even looking at the price tag of what they are voting for, you cannot "cut taxes" when you increase the debt level to create unwanted situations overseas that are warmongering, pollution, and avoidance of proper self-rule for this country with a budget in balance delivering good government.

Ask and ye shall receive. The people need to show their TRUE priorities!

Emerson said, "Speak in the affirmative, emphasize your choice, by utterly ignoring all you reject."

If everyone followed Emerson's advice, we might have true and honest votes for our "best" preferred (not pollsters railroaded monied elitism reinforcing status quo of greed at everyone else's expense) candidates. Real candidates, real votes, real democracy!

The first step is to recognize the problem, so yes, Independent Woman, maybe you said it well.

Maybe next step is to Implement Ralph Waldo Emerson and start talking what you would vote for affirmatively, and emphasize your choice, and leggo of the idiots "in power" -- and thereby win, dethroning them, democratically and diplomatically!

Posted by: Elizabeth O. Ellis | April 24, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is from people that are opposed to having their store closed...


right now the defense department is busy making deals, as is big oil...


I would imagine that those agendas would sink considerably if Hillary were to gain office...


http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm


_they_ _really_ _don't want_ a Clinton in the

White House.

.

Posted by: I would imagine most of the outcry against | April 24, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

even ordinary people could tell that Perot was telling the truth...

he made the debate more about the truth than the other candidates, and Clinton emerged as a more obvious choice when he had to speak to the issues rather than avoid them...


Perot _did not_ want to serve


he felt it was his duty to run to raise the level of awareness

you don't need Perot to do that, you need someone(s) willing to be candid.

.

Posted by: what Americans want is to be inspired.. | April 24, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

even ordinary people could tell that Perot was telling the truth...

he made the debate more about the truth than the other candidates, and Clinton emerged as a more obvious choice when he had to speak to the issues rather than avoid them...


Perot _did not_ want to serve


he felt it was his duty to run to raise the level of awareness

you don't need Perot to do that, you need someone(s) willing to be candid.

.

Posted by: what Americans want is to be inspired.. | April 24, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

United States,

and how we achieve that is demand it.

Posted by: I think honesty should be the president of the | April 24, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with PaDave. John Warner should be the democrats nominee for President. (he he)

Posted by: Karen | April 24, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

So does anyone else feel lied to when Kaine declared he wouldn't raise taxes after he and Warner did so in the previous budget, yet in his first WEEK in office Kaine proposed a $1 BILLION increase?

Education, health care and other aspects got a 20% increase without debate, yet if we want funds for transportation, we'll have to raise taxes. BOO!!

Posted by: Kilgore Voter | April 24, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

John Mc Cain will be the Republican nominee, so the middle will not be up for grabs. The only way the Dems can win in 2008 is with an imaginitive, centrist nominee with regional (midwest, southern) appeal. Youth and good looks won't hurt, either. My choice would be John Warner, Evan Bayh or John Edwards. Hillary would be the best President, hands down. But, because she is a woman, America will not elect her. Americans gravitate to mediocrity and are repelled by intellegence. They want the "guy next door" not the battle-tested leader.

Posted by: PaDAVE | April 24, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

So much of politics is appealing to the right demographic. Our country is aging. Older voters tend to turn out more than younger ones anyway. Older voters tend to be more conservative. They probably (guessing) also tend to be more involved in organized religion.

I suspect the driving dynamic is age, not relgiousity. Religious involvement is simply an artifact of age.

That's one reason the concern about McCain's age likely won't have traction. People are living longer lives, and tend to go longer without retirement.

It pains me to say this, but I think most people have pretty Republican reflexes. The mainstream has been at a point of : "Just stop terrorism (erring on the side of brutality), cut my taxes, keep the social program bennies going," no hard choices. It's not a well thought-out vote so much as it is the electoral equivalent of flinching.

Only something truly disastrous (Hurricane Katrina, the fumbling of Iraq) or downright stupid (the Terry Shiavo fiasco) tends to interrupt the flinch.

Let's hope The Fix doesn't make too much of this news. Remember Chris, consultants don't elect people, people *sold to* by pollsters elect people. :)

Posted by: Independent Woman | April 24, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Re: MT

Washington Post story today on
"Burns May Be Bouncing Back"
Citing Rasmussen polling: "Burns Bouncing Back?" (Nearly identical titles) failed to report other approval surveys polling in the state.

As I posted earlier, Burns, according to Survey USA monthly tracking, is a dismal 39%.

How does this constitute accurate and complete reporting?

Disappointing.

Rasmussen
April 11, 2006
Burns (R)* 45%
Morrison (D) 47%

Burns (R)* 47%
Tester (D)44%

March 14, 2006
Burns (R)* 43%
Morrison (D) 48%

Burns (R)* 43%
Tester (D) 46%

February
Burns (R)* 43%
Morrison (D)50%

Burns (R)* 46%
Tester (D) 46%

January
Burns (R)* 46%
Morrison (D) 43%

Burns (R)* 45%
Tester (D) 45%

September 2005
Burns (R)* 51%
Morrison (D) 39%

Burns (R)* 51%
Tester (D) 38%

Since Sept. 2005
Sep Jan Feb Mar Apr
Burns 51%, 46%, 43%, 43%, 45%
Morrison 39%, 43%, 50%, 48%, 47%
Tester 38%, 45%, 46%, 46%, 44%


Burns has dropped from 51% to 45%
Morrison has risen from 39% to 47%
Tester has risen from 38% to 44%

All three canidates are, accordinag to Rasmussen's own numbers, within the statistical margins of previous month numbers since Jan, with the only statistically significant changes coming between Sept. to Jan polls.

Posted by: RMill | April 24, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this pollster can teach them that Kerry is a buffoon and a disaster

Posted by: Sandy | April 24, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I am tired of party talk about dominating Congress and forcing unwanted "rule" of party rule not merit rule as if that is the truth.

I believe parties are supposed to produce a candidate that represents the party, but the candidate is supposed to BE SOMEONE already, not a puppet of the party, big time.

When something is before Congress, it should not be viewed AHEAD OF TIME by the media as a PARTY ISSUE DE FACTO. It is a horror story. Note your title of this article about upcoming Senate seats. Party focus or people focus? Both need to be dealt with. And, which is MORE? The individuals, of course. People should want to see the BEST in office. Not party dominance. Please and thank you.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | April 24, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to say, as a 50 year Republican voter, that the Dems don't have to do anything to gain the Senate. The Republican so called leadership is giving it to them on a platter this time. Their lack of doing anything except continuing a losing tact on nation building and trying to police the world is appaling!

Posted by: Wayne | April 24, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The lesson is that good policy is good politics. Too many feculent Republicans and feckless Democrats have yet to absorb that lesson.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 24, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see he's on board with Webb.

Posted by: Stacey | April 24, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

If Republicans continue to support generous tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and hold the "religious" posture that the party calls for itself, I hope they remember four things: 1- you hurt the least of Mine, you also hurt Me, 2- to whom much is given, much is expected, 3- the meek(poorest) shall inherit the earth, and 4- the difficulty for the rich to attain Heaven. The Bible has strong mandates to be met, right?

Posted by: Bonnie Lamb | April 24, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ok, let me get this straight, using religion to win votes is ok if you are a Dem but wrong if you are a Republican? Speaking from the church's pulpit is ok if you are Hillary Clinton but not if you are a Republican? Carrying a bible is ok if you are a Democrat, but you will called a theocrat if you are a Republican carrying a bible or coming out of church? Yes, sorry that I was confused since the Democrats campaign about the separation of church and state, that is of course, unless the Dems are the ones who want to use their religion for political purposes.

Posted by: Michele James | April 24, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Bob Schrum has worked on 7 presidential campaigns and only one of his boys got into the White House, Carter. Rather than trying to create an image based on poll groups and "gotcha politics", I think the candiate who is the most authentic will be winning in 2006.
The Dems are more attackers, and the public has seen them in action for the past few years drag down federal judges and block President Bush on many issues. So if the Dems keep offering nothing, they will see more Republicans either win more seats in the House or the Senate in 2006 or just keep the majority. Like Tom Daschel of S Dakota, did anyone think John Thune would be able to knock the Majority Leader off his mountain? Plus that same lack of leadership cost the Dems their seat in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisana. Bob Schrumism is the legacy of the Dems, exploit the anger of anti-Bush instead of showing their own experience of working for the people who have jobs and business people who employ them. But then again, why would I want to help the Dems improve their chances in 2006? Most Republican incumbents have served their voters well, and I doubt the Dems offer any improvement.

Posted by: Sara | April 24, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Faith and family will work with people who have a true verifiable history on Faith and family

Or if they label themselves with the brand that has successfully appropriated those themes, no matter their personal record.

It takes some doublethink to accept Tom Delay, Dan Burton, and Katharine Harris as paragons of faith and virtue in their deeds, even though all three of them market themselves that way to their voters. I guess if you call yourself a Republican, you get the benefit of the doubt from religious voters.

Posted by: Brittain33 | April 24, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Judge speaks of the Homer effect - no matter how much it hurts he keeps on hitting his head up agaist the wall.

At the heart of Christianity is a sense of fairness - the Democrats have failed to harness this idea on the tax issue

In contract it is called - "BENEFIT OF THE BARGAIN." This should be the motto of the democrats on taxes -

It is only fair and Christian that those who benefit the most from our miltary and infrastructure should pay the most -

The Dems loose because they allow the Repubs to define taxes as a four letter word - they need to define it as a moral obligation of those who benefit the most - hence THE BENEFIT OF THE BARGAIN

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Left out MO Talent

Survey USA
US Senate
April Approval

MO
Talent 48% (down from 52% in March, same as Feb)

Posted by: RMill | April 24, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Another interesting poll released 4-20 (not Senate related)

OH 6
Survey USA
DEM Primary

Carr 9%
Luchansky 6%
Wilson (write in) 54%

REP Primary
Blasdel 41%
Ginter 11%
Harmon 11%
Stobbs 2%

Posted by: RMill | April 24, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Survey USA
US Senators
April Approval

AZ
Kyl 45% (same as March)

FL
Nelson 48% (down from 49% in March/Feb)

MI
Stabenow 45% (down from 48% in March and 49% in Feb)

MT
Burns 39% (up from 38% in March down from Feb 42%)

NE
Nelson 73% (up from 70% in March and 68% in Feb)

NV
Ensign 49% (down from 52% in March and Feb)

NJ
Menendez 40% (down from 46% in March up from 36% in Feb)

OH
DeWine 48% (up from 46% in March and 43% in Feb)

PA
Santorum 39% (down from 43% in March and Feb)

RI
Chafee 52% (same as March, up from Feb 49%)

VA
Allen 49% (down from 51% in March and Feb)

WA
Cantwell 48% (down from 51% in March and 50% in Feb)

AZ and NV could be coming into play while Dems need to be wary of dropping numbers in MI, NJ and WA.

Posted by: RMill | April 24, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

A side note: Chris, you made a grammatical error when you stated that Brodnitz used a phone bank operated by another Penn & Schoen "alumni." The singular form of the plural noun "alumni" is "alumnus."

Bobby, I think you're right about the fact that a candidate who does not naturally fit the faith & family "formula" should not rely upon it. But if you look at the specific states, and, more importantly, specific candidates, for whom Brodnitz is doing his consulting, the formula works for them. He's not working with Hillary. And, frankly, I hope he works with someone who runs against Hillary in the '08 primaries (Richardson, I hope, or maybe Warner.) Sounds as if Pete Brodnitz is, if not a cure, at least part of an overall recovery strategy for a party with a severe, chronic case of Bob Shrumism!

Posted by: The Caped Composer | April 24, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton hav been regular church-goers for decades -- unlike so many Republicans [say, Reagan and Bush] who talk religion big time and yet never manage to actually do anything which reflects their so-called faith.

I would also suggest that the core policies of the Democratic party -- like helping the poor and disadvantaged -- inherently reflect religious values, unlike the policies of the Republican party [look out for #1 and screw everyone else].

Maybe some people just don't like politicians who talk about religion. I'd just as soon maintain separation of church and state myself.

Posted by: Drindl | April 24, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The following is an incredibly important point:
"Tax policy was another issue that Kaine addressed head-on and was able to blunt the traditional Republican advantage, according to Brodnitz. Approximately one-third of all Kaine's paid advertising touched on taxes and how they fit into the Democrat's overall fiscal policy. By contrast, former state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R) "would talk about taxes in an absolute way," Brodnitz explained."

In my state the R's do exactly this: "taxes bad, ugh!" and stand back and wait for their partisans to cheer. Everyone seems to be in a mad rush to forget the lessons of Proposition 13: cut taxes too much and your quality of life goes to heck. It's easy to say "cut taxes!" but when decisions have to be made about the other side - cutting spending - unthinking R's become rape and spend R's (at least on the national level) because they have NO answers.

On the local level they eventually have to admit "gee, we kind of want police, fire and garbage services" which is the intellectual equivalent of hitting yourself on the head with a hammer over and over again saying "ouch that hurts" each time.

The fact remains that some government spending is good. Therefore there must be taxes (oh, the horror, the horror!). What the D's need to do in each State is define just what 'good' needs to be done with this spending and demonize the R's (taking notes from Karl Rove) for not doing it. Each State has specific problems that many voters want to see solved. Just saying "cut taxes!" both vigorously ignores those problems and guarantees that they'll get worse.

While this didn't work in Alabama (very sad story) you can only do so much with the electorate you're given.


Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 24, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The more Hillary uses some of these gimmicks the more I am repulsed by her candidacy - she could not pull off the Chirst thing on immigration because it was not natually her -

I think the danger here is some Johnny come lately saying yea "that's the ticket" and then offending the voters -

Faith and family will work with people who have a true verifiable history on Faith and family - otherwise Dems like Hillary need to move on to another gimmick

BObby Wightman-Cervante
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: BObby Wightman-Cervantes | April 24, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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