Thursday, February 04, 2016

Election alert voter violation

Sending messages out about an alleged but unsubstantiated last minute dropout to 1,000 or so precinct captains for them to have incorporated into caucus location speeches prior to voting is slimy and evinces a lack of integrity.

For one, it'd be absurd to drop out the day of a caucus or primary. Instead, people drop out the following day because that caucus or primary is the last one on a candidate's record and, irrespective of what his next move is, it's always better for him if the numbers in that showing are higher rather than lower. Secondly, these are putative rock-ribbed Fox News-loving Republicans who are interpreting an insinuation from CNN as gospel truth?

But this "election alert voter violation" mailer takes the sleaze to another level:

It's impossible to spin away as anything other than a blatant attempt at coercing--through deception and perceived duress--low-information voters into showing up at caucus locations, many of whom presumably knew little about the caucus they'd shown up to participate in.

In a primary, this would be a questionable tactic from a strictly results-oriented perspective, since the people flushed out to the polls in this manner would just end up clueless in front of a list of names on a screen, but the Iowa caucuses are public. People make pitches for the candidates they're supporting, and campaign volunteers are crawling all over the place.

Ted Cruz, having campaigned for years in the state, had the most expansive ground game and the widest amount of personal contact with caucus participants of anyone in the GOP field. His people were everywhere, and they presumably all knew about these mailers. It's conceivable that they were on the lookout for people unsure of what they needed to do to make right this "voter violation" before "a follow-up notice" was "issued following Monday's caucuses" to them.

Unlike the shifty Carson play, Cruz didn't grovel on the mailer:
Cruz, however, was defiant to reporters when asked about the mailer in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday night.

"I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote," he said.
Keep your eye on the prize, (t)Eddie Cruz!

Parenthetically, as Heartiste pointed out, the results head-scratcher comes not from Cruz's performance, but from Rubio's. The polling averages were actually quite accurate across the board--off by a couple of percentage points here and there--except for Trump and Rubio. Trump's polling numbers putatively turned out to be over-hyped by over 4 points while Rubio's were more than 6 points worse than his caucus-day performance.

The narrative of fence-sitting Trump supporters switching to Rubio at the last minute is almost inconceivable, so why were the data so off the mark when it came to these two while managing to get it just about right on everybody else?


pithom said...

No doubt two percentage points were added to Rubio by former Jeb allies. And Rubio won only five counties in Iowa, so maybe there was some selection bias in the samples (rich city dwellers being less likely to answer polls, for instance). The number of voters coming out for Cruz was wildly underestimated by the polls. This was due to a surprisingly strong Evangelical vote on Caucus night.

And I'm registering to vote tomorrow.

Ron Guhname said...

Cruz reminds me of Nixon, only more conservative. I would guess Trump's poll numbers were a little high because they contained a disproportionate number of supporters who lacked the commitment to show up and caucus. Many do stand long hours in line to see Trump, but some of it is celebrity excitement, I suspect.

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Dan said...

Throwing Carson under the bus is shiftier to me than the mailers. I've gotten similar mailings before. I recognized it as spam and didn't give it another thought.

But I've not seen a candidate spread a rumor about his opponent dropping out on election night before. That one is new to me.

Cruz really is a rock-ribbed conservative including on immigration. I'd take him ordinarily, but I think what's needed now is a communicator who can get way the hell outside of the Overton Window.

Audacious Epigone said...


Those who told pollsters they made their decisions late (day of or in the few days before) broke most strongly for Rubio. Presumably the least controversial candidate tends to do well among latecomers/the apathetic.


He reminds me of Huckabee and Santorum, albeit better on immigration. Both won Iowa, neither had much of a shot at the nomination or the general election.

Regarding turnout, I may have to eat crow on that. My presumption was that if people would drive halfway across a state and wait outside in the cold for hours to get into a Trump rally, they'd take the time to get out and caucus for him, too (although caucusing is as much work as attending a rally in many cases). We'll see if any reverse Bradley effect shows up in the primary states.


Great amalgamation you have there. Added to the sidebar, thanks.


My sentiments exactly.

Cruz is like another Tancredo who has been wafted up on Trump's updrafts. For one, he's probably not electable. This doesn't scale well nationally in a rapidly secularizing America. Secondly, if he did get elected, he'd face resistance on immigration from the open borders leadership in his own party like Paul Ryan and from a Democrat party unified in its opposition. Immigration restriction would probably get dropped as an issue. Nothing concrete--like the construction of a wall--would get done.

Trump is uniquely positioned to act on the immigration pledge--he launched his campaign off an immigration platform and his candidacy is effectively a national moratorium on constructing an Israeli-style wall along the US-Mexico border.