Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mark Kennedy: Adrift and Sinking

An interesting post today on the blog site Kennedy vs. The Machine where some interesting stats and facts are pointed out:

- Among sitting Senators, Dayton is the 5th most disapproved of by his constituants.
- Klobuchar hasn’t said how she’d differ from Dayton’s voting record.
- Coleman has an approval rating of 51%.
- Coleman is identified with Bush policies 98% of the time.
KvM correctly points out this should spell trouble for Klobuchar. But it’s Kennedy who’s in trouble, his fortunes getting worse over time. KvM avoids saying why; they’re better at exposing flaws in the opposition than in their own candidate’s campaign.

A U of M poll shows that Minnesota voters are thinking most about education (23%) and health care (23%), two issues that Kennedy doesn’t seem to be addressing. Terrorism is down at 5%. Given that these numbers are in such stark contrast to national trends, and that the poll’s internals are not available lead me to be skeptical about the poll itself.

Kennedy’s positioning doesn’t seem to be helping, and his ads may hold a key to the problem. One ad boasts about his opposition to Bush proposals and how half the house Democrats supported one of his legislative efforts. Even worse, he makes it sound like Republicans are for draining and filling wetlands and against pension reform. His opposition to ANWR fuel recovery, bashing of oil company profits and alternative fuel promotion doesn’t seem to be helping him any.

One possibility stands out; it would appear that Kennedy has misjudged the necessity of ‘running away from Bush.’ The more he has run away this year, the lower his poll numbers go. Or perhaps he’s not addressing the issues correctly, or his approach is just coming off as phony and opportunistic. But my guess, after viewing his ads, is that he’s trying to sound more like a Democrat while dissing Republicans. If you reliably vote Republican, that's not going to warm you to the candidate. And if you’re going to vote for a Democrat, why not vote for the real thing?

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