Latest Senate poll is Whirled


On, OU PoliSci professor Keith Gaddie reviews the Tulsa Whirled's latest poll in the Oklahoma US Senate race (which shows Democrat Brad Carson up by 6%) and calls attention to the poll's lack of any screening for likely voters:

Registered voter surveys always favor Democratic candidates, but they are not reflective of turnout. Consumer Logic has not used any sort of likely voter screen (which have been discussed on this site before), not even a screening question that asks about the certainty with which a respondent will vote. A similar survey, taken more recently by SurveyUSA and using such a screening question, illustrates the problem inherent in the World’s poll: Tom Coburn has a seven-point lead among “certain” voters, while Brad Carson leads among voters who are only “probably” going to vote. And SUSA had weeded out the unlikely voters, who are still included in the World poll of registered voters.

We are in an uncertain political environment with regard to turnout. But, Consumer Logic and the Tulsa media who sponsored this poll owe it to their readers to address these issues, because they do not create an accurate picture of the polling environment, nor do they communicate the greater predictive error inherent in their unscreened, registered voter survey.

Gaddie also comments on the Oklahoman's endorsement of Tom Coburn:

Should Dr. Coburn prevail, his incumbency is impeded by a divisive, negative campaign waged by his opponent and his supporters. His trademark forthrightness and consistency has been called into question. His independence and lack of beholding to other interests are diminished. He will have won in no small part because other conservatives– most notably the NRSC and the Club for Growth, the Oklahoma City GOP organization (most notably Ernest Istook’s people), the GOP congressional delegation, and the Bush family – carried water for his campaign financially, politically, and organizationally at the grassroots. Left to his own devices, Tom Coburn would probably be outspent and losing right now. He is in this race due to an exceptional conservative effort on his behalf.

Senator Tom Coburn, like other politicians, will find he is beholden to the interests and organizations who contributed to his success. And, this will likely lead to demands that he change his political style, as the Oklahoman astutely suggests when its editorial board observes that “If elected, it's imperative that Coburn adopt a spirit of collaboration, particularly with fellow Sen. Jim Inhofe, that sometimes eluded him during his six years in the House.”

To the extent that Coburn is beholden to these groups, it will serve to reinforce his strength of character and independence. The people who have lined up to help Tom Coburn win this election did so because of who he is, not because they believe they could mold him into something different. The reason Club for Growth made his election its number one priority is because he has a record of standing firm on the Club's issues of economic freedom and smaller government. Any supporter who believes he's going to call in some favors once Coburn is in the Senate hasn't bothered to read his book or study his record.

Although his consistency and forthrightness have been questioned, the "questions" against him have been shown to be bogus. There are encouraging signs that Oklahomans are finally seeing through the distortions coming from Brad Carson's campaign. It only helps Coburn that a major donor to Carson's campaign -- the attorney who defended Coburn in that sterilization lawsuit -- is coming forward to challenge the half-truths and outright lies coming from Carson and his supporters. From a recent e-mail from Tom Coburn:

Let me close by mentioning a hero. Walter Haskins is the lawyer who represented me thirteen years ago when I was the defendant in a frivolous lawsuit based on untruthful claims. He does not agree with me politically; in fact, he and his wife contributed the maximum amount allowed by law to Brad Carson's campaign. When he saw me attacked in the media in early September about that very lawsuit, he told Brad Carson the facts that I had done nothing wrong and that the case had been quite properly thrown out of court. But when Mr. Carson went ahead and put a million dollars of his campaign funds behind television advertisements intended to destroy my character with those same false charges, Mr. Haskins stepped forward publicly to tell reporters that the claims in those commercials are false and that Brad Carson knew it. Now Mr. Haskins has made a commercial for us that you will probably be seeing over the next few days. Walt Haskins has come to my defense on his own initiative, at his own expense, and against his own political preferences, because truth matters to him. I am overwhelmed by the courage and integrity of this good man, and I will remember it the rest of my life.

You can see the ad here.

And to help the Coburn campaign in this final week, call them in Tulsa at 294-8352 or call the Tulsa County Republican Party at 627-5702.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 25, 2004 1:55 AM.

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