Opinionated @ CFE

New Poll Should Worry Hatch


Utah Policy put out a new poll today for the US Senate race that should have the Hatch campaign breaking a sweat.

The first problem is that Hatch’s lead isn’t as strong as it was when the last poll was conducted almost four months ago. In that poll, Hatch was leading Liljenquist 42-23, an almost 2-1 margin. The latest poll shows him leading 52-37. While Hatch picked up 10 points in that time frame, Liljenquist snagged 14 points. If that trend continues (especially as the media just won’t let up on the debate issue), Hatch may not win Salt Lake County by as much as he needs.

The second problem is that both polls are conducted solely in Salt Lake County, a place with a reputation for more moderate voters. Voters in more conservative areas like Utah County are more likely to vote Liljenquist. This trend might carry over to more conservative areas of southern Salt Lake County like Draper and Herriman. As noted above, thin margins in Salt Lake County could spell trouble if other counties go for Liljenquist. Winning just Salt Lake County has been a losing strategy for many Democrats in state-wide races.

The question now is if Hatch can keep his numbers from eroding too much more before both the start of early voting and vote by mail and the June 26 primary. I’m not counting on it.

Hatch’s Debate Problem


As I predicted earlier, the Hatch campaign decided to agree to a tightly-controlled debate and the Liljenquist campaign is continuing to make hay of it. We all knew that Hatch had to pick the least bad downside, but in this case, he seems to have picked both of them.

  • The debate that the Hatch campaign agreed to is a radio debate during work hours on an outlet that is friendly to Hatch, The Doug Wright Show. I knew the Hatch campaign was going for tightly controlled, but to restrict responses this way and have a friendly moderator is stacking the deck a bit too much.
  • It’s also been proposed to have the debate a mere week before the primary, long after most vote-by-mail voters have cast their ballots. That’s no accident, and it’s meant to try and secure votes before people would change their mind.
  • KSL and the Deseret News offered to host a televised debate between Hatch and Liljenquist. Live. In prime time. I can’t recall having seen such a proposal for a federal or state-wide race. Passing on such a visible offer sends a signal to voters that he isn’t confident that he could out-perform Liljenquist in the debate format. It also seems at least slightly arrogant.
  • Despite insisting that the Senator has a very busy schedule and can’t accommodate more than one debate, he somehow found time to write a new song as part of his musical side gig and has hinted at hosting multiple town halls. That mixed message creates a poor image.
  • The media is continuing to echo the Liljenquist campaign’s talking points about having additional debates. When the media starts sympathizing with your opponent, it at least blunts the effects of your planned mass media campaign. At worst, it’s going to make the media more hostile towards Hatch.

It seems like if the Hatch campaign were using appropriate damage control, they would quickly and graciously accept the offer from KSL/Deseret News and plan appropriate media blitzes with that massive war chest to try and soften any blow from it. However, it appears that the paid professionals on his campaign staff still have a lot to learn about image control.

Does Hatch have a reason to debate?


It was mere hours after advancing to a primary election that Dan Liljenquist threw down the gauntlet and challenged Orrin Hatch to a total of eight debates between then and the June 26 primary election. So far, Hatch’s campaign has responded with a cagey “we’ll see” citing the current Senator’s duties in Washington and the pre-convention debates. I think there’s a lot more to it, and the Hatch campaign has a fine line to walk.


What to make of Mitt’s endorsement of Hatch


The reality is that it’s very simple: Hatch is a reliable Republican Party foot soldier willing to carry water for the president, even on bad policy. That’s why he supported SCHIP, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and a litany of other bad bills from the Bush administration. Do you want a Senator that always supports the president of your party or one that answers principles higher than party loyalty?

Orrin Hatch’s Doubletalk on Protect IP


It was fun watching SOPA and PIPA go down in flames in spectacular fashion from the angered raging of the entire friggin’ Internet. It was equally amusing watching Senator Orrin Hatch, a co-sponsor of PIPA, do contortions to try and distance himself from the bill faster than a cat from a tub of water. In the process, an amazing amount of doubletalk came from the Senators numerous paid staffers. You shouldn’t be too surprised when Sen. Hatch comes back with the same or a similar bill in the not too distant future.


Mike Lee Channels Orrin Hatch’s Tech-Ignorant Ways


I’ve gone on the record saying that I think Mike Lee is a poser, someone who was at the right place at the right time saying the right things to get elected to the US Senate to replace “Bailout Bob” Bennett. I’ve doubted his sincerity from the moment the candidate nobody had heard of started a series of “lectures on the constitution” ahead of his official announcement. Just yesterday, he announced via Twitter and Facebook that he plans to take on Google in anti-trust hearings. The reasoning behind this shows a dangerous lack of understanding about both free markets and technology.


Populism and Opportunism


One inevitable side effect of any wave of populism is that you’re going to have opportunists looking to latch onto that wave as quickly as they can. With the recent wave of anti-federal sentiment courtesy of the tea party movement, the hollow rings of opportunism have reached a similar crescendo. They range from the somewhat plausible to the laughably transparent (I’m looking at you, Orrin Hatch). To those of us with a track record of opposing the never-ending reach of federal power, it’s galling to find a bunch of wannabes and hypocrites attaching themselves to these ideals while simultaneously stoking the bonfire of crazy that seems to accompany it. It doesn’t just insult our intelligence, it makes us look bad.


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