Politics The Prop. 1 Campaign’s Cynical Polling Tactics
posted by November 9 at 13:14 PMon
According to internal polls for the ‘Yes’ on Prop 1 campaign, the roads and transit initiative was supposed to pass. Big.
It’s losing 56.3 to 43.6.
The Tim Hibbitts polls used by “Keep Washington Rolling” had Prop 1 ahead 50 to 42 in December of ‘06; ahead 57 to 37 in May of ‘07; ahead 58 to 37 in June ‘07; ahead 65 to 32 in July ‘07.
Closer to the vote, the campaign’s September 23 survey said 57 percent favored the measure.
At that time, Hibbitts summarized:
“Transportation concerns continue to be the top issue in the Puget Sound area, and voters are looking for solutions. Clearly, we enter the last six weeks of the campaign with a real chance to put this measure over the top, and are in a better position to win than I would have imagined possible eight months ago.”
Kinda sounds like a fundraising pitch to me. Which brings me to the cynical point of this post. I’m not so much curious about why Hibbitts’s polling was off. I’m more convinced that these polls were pre-fabbed and used as fund raising tools. How else are you going to get Microsoft kicking in $300,000, Boeing at $180,000 , Washington Mutual at $100,000, and $300,000 from the Washington Association of Realtors?
High rollers like those folks aren’t going to invest that kind of cash unless they think they’re going to win. It’s the way businesses think. And it seems to meógiven how optimistic the campaign’s polls turned out to beóthe campaign played those donors pretty good.
Consider: The Sept. 23 “a better position to win than I would have imagined possible eight months ago” poll landed at pretty opportune time for the campaign. It gave the campaign a last push to do some big fundraising before the October 16 cut off. (Initiative campaigns cannot accept anything larger than a $5,000 contribution three weeks out from the election.)
In the week after that poll, several big donations came in: $30,000, $25,000, $20,000, $15,000 from places like Wright Runstad, IUOE Local 612, Parametrix Inc., and David Evans & Associates.
I’ve always been skeptical of internal polling. Perhaps big donors will be now as well.