Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Team Ehrlich Responds To WaPo Poll

Below is an email sent out by Team Ehrlich rebutting the results of the latest Washington Post poll which has Governor O’Malley leading former Governor Ehrlich 52 to 41 percent among likely voters. As per my practice, the only edit I made to the email is to remove the name of the person who forwarded it to me (though I received it from more than one source).

I have not had a chance to delve into the poll’s methodology, but I do have a few comments:

  • If the poll is accurate and two-thirds of undecideds break in Ehrlich’s favor (as usually happens when an incumbent faces a challenger), O’Malley would win by 54 to 46 percent over Ehrlich were the election to be held today.
  • I concur with Team Ehrlich’s assessment that black turnout will not be the 25 percent we witnessed in 2008, when Barack Obama was at the top of the ticket. As I have argued consistently on this blog and in op-eds I have written for the Baltimore Sun, black turnout is the “ball game” as far as this election is concerned. 
  • I’m not sure the 2009 Virginia governor's race is germane here. Deeds and McDonnell were non-incumbents running for an open seat. So, the Post poll showing only a four point spread separating the candidates in Virginia may therefore have been accurate when it was taken because Deeds and McDonnell were relative unknowns still in the process of defining themselves with voters. By contrast, Ehrlich and O'Malley are both well-known personalities, making it difficult to imagine that we will witness a wild seesaw of support between them. Indeed, previous polls have consistently portrayed a tight race, with Governor O'Malley enjoying a modest edge.
  • One can make the case that the Democratic Governors Association started running ads because the Republican Governors Association did so.
  • Team Ehrlich is correct about Democrats underperforming during the primary. In fact, Martin O'Malley received 120,000 fewer votes than he did in 2006. Further, when you factor in the votes of the two no-name candidates who ran against him, the overall total is still less than what O'Malley received in the primary as the only candidate four year ago.
  • Ehrlich has his own concerns when it comes to base voters. In the 2010 primary, he won fewer votes than he did either in 2002 or 2006. To simply assume that all Republicans will show up and vote for Ehrlich - as the Ehrlich campaign did in 2006 - would be a miscalculation. Some outreach is going to be necessary to energize conservatives, especially those who backed Brian Murphy.
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: John Reith <>
Sent: Wed, September 29, 2010 11:14:31 AM
Subject: Ehrlich campaign on the Washington Post poll

Ehrlich Campaign on The Washington Post Poll

The Washington Post released this morning is severely flawed and bears no resemblance to any other public poll over the past four months that have shown this race to be statistically tied.  Here are some important points to consider:

·         This poll assumes the same, unprecedented turnout among young democrats and African American voters that turned out for Barack Obama in 2008, an assumption that is both implausible and impossible.

·         The Post poll shows Ehrlich with 27% of the vote in Montgomery County, a preposterously low number.  He received 38% of the Montgomery County vote in 2002 and 36% in 2006.  Ellen Sauerbrey received 42% of the Montgomery County vote in 1994.  The base republican vote in the County is in the high 30’s.  There can be no plausible argument that Ehrlich will be 10 points below that.

·         The Washington Post's own Chris Cillizza, Real Clear Politics, UVA's respected Larry Sabato, and Rasmussen Reports all rank this race in their "toss up" categories. In fact, The Post’s Cillizza upgraded the race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss Up” just one week ago.

·         The Post poll over samples Democrats among those surveyed, tilting the results toward Democrat candidates.

·         Example:  Exactly 1 year ago, The Post poll stated that Democrat Creigh Deeds was within striking distance - just four points - of Bob McDonnell in the Virginia Governor's race. One month later, McDonnell won by 18 points. Most polls have a margin of error of 3 points. Given their complete misreading of Virginia’s electorate, The Post should have a margin of error of 14.

·         The Post poll was conducted on a Friday night, ensuring they would reach a very different population than any other poll. 

·         The Democratic Governors Association wouldn’t be spending hundreds of thousands in attack ads against Bob Ehrlich if they thought The Post poll was accurate.

·         The facts on the ground simply prove the Post poll wrong: Since the start of the campaign, challenger Bob Ehrlich has out raised incumbent Martin O'Malley. In the last campaign finance reporting period, Ehrlich out raised O'Malley nearly 3 to 1.

·         It fails to account for GOP enthusiasm and corresponding lack of enthusiasm among Democrats. We saw very poor turnout in majority Democrat jurisdictions in this year’s primary. In some jurisdictions, Democrat primary turnout reached 30 year lows. Martin O'Malley actually received 29,000 fewer votes in this year’s primary than Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the primary in 2002. 

·         Bob Ehrlich's campaign has been focused entirely on leading a lasting economic recovery in Maryland to raise quality of life for families. Every credible poll in this race shows Marylanders share this priority and have a positive perception of Ehrlich. 

·         Meanwhile, Martin O'Malley has been focused on dishonest attacks since the first week of the campaign and hasn't let up, because he cannot defend his record of massive job losses, record tax hikes, and ballooning debt.

·         Now Martin O'Malley is making stuff up - and even covering stuff up - in order to win this election. To read more, click here.  

Please know that we have new ads countering all of the O’Malley negative ads.  The timing of this poll came before our first responses hit the air. 

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 410-336-6298.


JR Reith

John C. Reith


  1. 1994 Bentley v Sauerbrey / Sauerbrey loses to Glendenning by a few thousands votes. Moral: what matters is not the competitiveness of the primary, but the enthusiasm of Republicans and like-minded Independents to cast a vote. The Brian Murphy point then is really null.

    More voters cast a ballot in the Republican gubernatorial primary than in 2006 or 2002. 120k less cast a ballot in the Democratic gubernatorial primary than did in 2006 and the number was similar (slightly higher) than 2002. These numbers are more significant.

    TWP poll did not verify voter registration status against self-reporting and has seventy-one percent turnout. Also unlikely is TWP prediction that Republicans are four percent less (GOP turnout down 15%). The May poll had a different likely voter model and much different outcomes. Not much has changed since May. Probably a narrow O'Malley advantage.

  2. Damn, Reith must've been born in another state. For every Republican there are 2 Democrats in this state. No statistics about that. Plus, Democrats are not making 'any noise' but will vote to keep Republicans out of state offices. He seems to forget Townsend LOST the race; Ehrlich did not 'win' it. Had she run a better race and did NOT split the ticket with a ridiculous Republican (Larson), he would not have gotten into the state. She IS a dingbat! Ehrlich has not outright won a race against a strong candidate like O'Malley yet. He will not win on November 2nd either. The Democratic base is quite quiet and OFTEN times, is late to get involved because we are tired of elections. But when a Republican is on the ticket, the (D) base will come out enough to win. You're talking about generations of NO Republicans in the state house with the Black vote fluctuating in every single race. But no, Reith does not mention that either. I think the WaPo poll has more experience with this than Reith does. Afterall, they fully endorsed O'Malley after a long time of consideration. They do not want to have egg on their face. No, Reith is spinning faster than a hooker on M St NW with this response.

  3. BTW, Reith did not also look into the rest of the ballot to get an idea of how Democrats are feeling. Starting in January, Maryland will be EVEN MORE BLUE given the outcomes of primaries on both sides. This is a signal that the base is not feeling what some are saying the rest of the nation is feeling.

    O'Malley wins 54-41 going a rout.