Defending Burka to Kuffner

Charles Kuffner quotes Paul Burka, and then exclaims:

The bad news for Bell is that his success seems to have come not at Perry's expense but at Strayhorn's.

Dude. All campaign long you've said that the reason why Rick Perry is unbeatable despite poll numbers in the 30s is because none of his opponents have been able to coalesce the anti-Perry vote. Now we see Chris Bell doing exactly that - this is what it means when some of Strayhorn's support migrates to Bell, as was the case when Friedman started losing voters to Bell - and it's still bad news?

I see Kuffner's point -- I noticed the same thing.

But I think Burka's point is that Bell is only snagging a point or two off of Strayhorn. Strayhorn isn't falling precipitously, and Perry isn't moving at all. There's not much evidence that Bell has really coalesced an anti-Perry vote around himself. If that's the case and Bell doesn't take any votes from Perry, then Perry isn't beatable. Of course, my guess is that the polls probably overstate Strayhorn's percentage by a couple points, while underdoing Perry's and Bell's percentages by a few points.

Posted by Evan @ 11/01/06 06:56 AM

 
 

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>>But I think Burka's point is that Bell is only snagging a point or two off of Strayhorn. Strayhorn isn't falling precipitously, and Perry isn't moving at all.<<

I think that's the right way to read Burka. Cutting into Strayhorn's lead just a little following your one-shot $2-3 million media buy courtesy of John O'Quinn isn't "coalescing" (i.e. making it into one, as "coalescing" is defined) the anti-Perry vote, as you point out. And that's leaving aside movement that might be explained by the margin of error in the polls.

Of the two statements, it's the "coalescing" statement that seems less right at this point. I think it's entirely possible that some bloggers get so emotionally invested in these races that analysis can suffer.

Posted by kevin @ 11/01/06 08:10 AM


Evan, I see what you're saying, and that's a fair interpretation. I still think it wouldn't have killed Burka to at least acknowledge the point I raised, however.

Oh, and Kevin, I agree with you. Some bloggers most certainly do <a href="http://lonestartimes.com/20...">get so emotionally involved</a> in these races that they lose perspective.

Posted by Charles Kuffner @ 11/01/06 03:47 PM


>>Some bloggers most certainly do <a href="http://lonestartimes.com/20...">get so emotionally involved</a> in these races that they lose perspective.<<

Nice try, Charles. Except I've made it clear that I've not decided who gets my vote (if anyone) and I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do with their vote (if voters can't figure that out themselves, I hope they stay the hell away from the ballot box).

However, if you take exception with any of the points I've made at Lone Star Times about what conservatives ought to consider when they go to the ballot box, please do share.

To recap those points: Conservatives ought not have any illusions that Richard Friedman is a conservative (he isn't) or a serious person (he's an entertainer), they ought not have any illusions that he can win (he can't), and they ought to be aware that if they (conservatives) vote for him, they increase the chances of Chris Bell winning (because of straight ticket voting and a large potential base).

If you disagree with ANY of those points I made to a decidedly conservative audience, please do share! Otherwise, I'll just assume that was pure substance-free snark on your part that was off the mark. I don't have ANY emotional investment in this group of candidates, which I've called underwhelming in several places.

As for "coalescing" -- I still don't know why Burka would acknowledge an unestablished fact? The term isn't accurate.

Posted by kevin @ 11/01/06 06:56 PM


Here's how I read Burka. There were two possible ways to beat Perry. (1) Coalesce the anti-Perry vote. None of Perry's three rivals could break away from the pack, and in particular neither Bell nor Strayhorn could kill the other off, Bell because he had the Democratic base, Strayhorn because she had money. (2) Take votes away from Perry. Bell couldn't do that. As Burka wrote many times, Republicans will not vote for a Democrat unless the Republican candidate makes an utter fool of himself, as in Claytie Williams. Strayhorn could take Republican votes (particularly women)from Perry and indeed did do it, but she wasn't credible enough to establish herself as the only person who could beat Perry. Her poor debate performance, combined with Bell's good performance, ruined whatever chance she had. I don't see any inconsistencies in this argument.

Posted by Paul Burka @ 11/01/06 11:50 PM


Well the way I read Burka is that both 1 & 2 have to happen. Or maybe that's my own opinion.

Posted by evan @ 11/02/06 12:10 AM


My last comment was obviously said light-heartedly, for the reading-challenged.

Posted by evan @ 11/02/06 12:17 AM


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