Sometimes the media believes their own hype

Paul Burka writes a post that makes me struggle for descriptors. It's entitled (w/caps) WATCH OUT FOR MEDINA! Which may be all you really need to know. Nonetheless, let's take it from the top, shall we? (Edit: Just so we're clear, Burka is reacting to this poll.)

Anything can happen now. Medina's support has grown by 50% since the Rasmussen poll even though she does not have money to spend on TV. That means she is gaining on word of mouth. I thought she would be doing well to get to 20%. She shot through that barrier without slowing down.
One poll with a relatively small sample size does not a fact make. Is she probably gaining? Yes, but everything Burka wrote is drawing cement conclusions from a straw foundation. It might be true, but let's not overdo it.

Medina isn't gaining on word of mouth, she's gaining on the fact that the media has showered her with favorable coverage.

I have been telling friends for a couple of weeks now that if Medina can raise $2 million by February 16, she will be governor. What this poll tells me is that Texans are sick and tired of Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison and their career politician credentials and their negative campaigns. Medina is Sarah Palin with smarts and without the winks.

That bolded part is just crazy. Let's suppose that somehow KBH collapses and Medina squeeks into a runoff. I don't see it as likely by any means, but let's hypothesize. He really thinks that Medina will beat Perry in a runoff? A woman who talks about nullification and "globalist agendas"? Really? That blows my mind. Paul, I think you should spend more time with some Republican primary voters so that you understand that they aren't crazy.

But ok, let's continue our hypothetical: can Medina beat Bill White? NO! I'd rather have Medina than White, don't get me wrong, but White would beat her.

Furthermore, money has nothing to do with it. If anything, if Medina raised $2m, I think there's a substantial chance she'd run ads that would ruin her "I'm not a politician" rep and lose her the protest votes she's got now. According to the PPP poll, she's got 40% favorable, 9% unfav and the rest unknown. But that 40% favorable is probably the softest favorable number I've ever seen! No one knows anything about her yet, even people who are saying they currently have favorable views.

Also, Sarah Palin to Medina is probably the oddest analogy I've ever heard. Palin is within the mainstream of her party; Medina isn't. Palin was a touted Mayor in her state; Medina is the former Republican chair of a 40,000 person county. Palin had significant backing when she ran for governor, Medina doesn't. Palin signed on to McCain's presidential bid; Medina backed Paul and publically refused to vote for McCain.

Consider Perry's dilemma. The conventional wisdom was that there was no way anyone could get to his right. Hutchison tried and failed miserably. Medina got there, because she is genuine. Now what does Perry do? Does he attack her? Very risky. Does he ignore her? This is Plan B territory; I seriously doubt that the Perry campaign has a stop-Medina strategy. All his Hutchison-bashing accomplished was to weaken KBH to the point where Medina may have enough momentum to make the runoff. Amazing! How can anyone not love this stuff?

What dilemma? Perry would surely like to avoid a runoff, but I think he'd rather have a runoff with Medina than with KBH. Medina would make Perry look centrist in a runoff that he would surely win. Perry wouldn't mind that heading into the general election with Bill White.

I actually was going to write a post about tactics when I originally saw the Medina poll, but I'll hold off on writing it here.

Let's backup for a second.

Candidates A and B have spent $15 to 20 million attacking each other over a relatively compressed timeframe. They are doing so in a state that was born with a frontier individualism and which then re-emerged after Reconstruction deeply ingrained in the state's fiber a distrust of politicians. Meanwhile, in the rest of the nation, Americans are angry at politicians. The economy is bad, and incumbent politicians do not seem to be paying attention. People want to "throw the bums out."

Candidate C is an outsider. Candidate C is running as an outsider, while Candidates A and B have held political office for the last two decades. Candidate C attaches herself to a movement which is small, but has a very dedicated core. What they lack in number, they make up for in noise and are fully ready to start an echo chamber. Candidate C presents herself fairly well at 2 debates, where Candidates A and B ignore her in order to attack each other. Now Candidate C receives glowing coverage from the state's media (who is tired of both A and B).

Are we really surprised if Medina can get to 20% in a mere poll? It's easier to press a button on a telephone poll as a protest vote than as an actual vote. But now the media has to stop writing fawning puff pieces, candidates A and B might have reasons to attack, and people will get an actual idea of who Debra Medina is. As I've already said, Debra Medina 2010 = Ron Paul 2008.

Posted by Evan @ 02/09/10 04:38 PM


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