Thursday, November 02, 2006

Our Phone Is Oddly Quiet

[Posted by reader_iam]

Well, on the one hand, that statement is never true, insofar that we get calls of all sorts, both personal and business, because of the nature of our personal and professional lives and quite the array of involvements and commitments.

It's absolutely true, however, in one key way:

We have received exactly one call two calls related to next week's election, at least of which I'm aware (one from a group asking us to vote against the retention of a local judge, and one from an incumbent State rep).

(Our recycling bin is oddly light in the campaign literature department, as well.)

This is unprecedented. We have two adults--two adults who vote--registered as "no party," and normally we are inundated, even in midterms, though the volume is naturally greater in presidential election years.

In elections past, we had to empty the answering machine and/or voice mail relatively regularly to make way for messages from those from whom we actually wanted to hear.

I grant you that we are in the early days of the last days; perhaps on Sunday or Monday I'll be whining on line about the "noise, noise, noise, noise." And goodness knows I'm not requesting political solicitations.

Yet I find it notable. We are constituents in the 1st Congressional District, which race this year lacks an incumbent, because Republican Rep. Jim Nussle is now running for governor. Now, according to this political handicapping article in yesterday's WaPo which cites a Reuters poll, Democrat Bruce Braley is leading Republican Mike Whalen 49 percent to 42. A Zogby poll obtained the same result:
The poll, conducted by Zogby International and released Wednesday, said Braley led 49 percent to 42 percent.

That’s a switch from last month for the poll, which had Whalen leading by a 47 percent to 34 percent margin.
Other independent polls that were conducted previous to the earlier Zogby poll had said Braley was leading.

The new poll of 500 likely voters was conducted Oct. 24 through 29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

So maybe the powers-that-be are considering this a done deal. Still, I find our silent phone a surprising thing, given the larger context, what's being reported in the national political media and the nature of this district (which elected Nussle in 2000 and 2004, but went for Gore and Kerry, respectively). Is everyone so sure of the outcome? Has a calculation been made that it would be better to concentrate on party bases and hope the indies stay home?

By the way, it's not just the national seat that's raising my eyebrow with regard to the silence, but also the gubernatorial one (remember, the results of that can have mid- to long-term implications for politics nationally). The polls are contradictory with regard to Nussle and his opponent, Democrat Chet Culver, who is currently Iowa's Secretary of State:
Dueling campaigns for governor trotted out dueling polls showing good news for their guys.

Nussle’s campaign touted a Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll showing Culver with a narrowing lead over Nussle, 47.6 to 46.4 percent. That poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.

Hours later Culver’s campaign lauded a Global Strategy Group poll showing Culver with a 44-37 lead overall and a 40-28 lead among independents. That poll of 600 likely Iowa voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Again, this is a race without an incumbent (Gov. Tom Vilsack, who has had presidential aspirations, opted not to go for a third term), and it's not necessarily a done deal.

So, are we just talking triage here, dollar- and organization-wise, from the major parties, given that there are so many seats nationwide that appear to be up in the air? Does my earlier question regarding Indies obtain? Or is there a ball being dropped here?


HEH! Just this minute, as I was ready to click "Publish Post," my phone rang, the answering machine picked up, and I heard a pre-recorded message plugging Mike Whalen.

A sign of things to come?