Tag Archives: Aaron Kraut

Did I Get It Wrong on the Blair Poll?

Normally, when people feel I got something wrong in a post, I hear from them very quickly. So I was a little surprised when Aaron Kraut, the David Blair’s Communications Director, contacted me to say that I got it wrong in yesterday’s post on the poll recently released by Blair.

According to Aaron Kraut, “The topline poll question cited in our press release was asked before any further questions.” This would mean that the polling results were not skewed by the sorts of priming and message testing that occurred during the poll.

I asked to see the polling results because that, after all, would quickly settle the matter. To me, as I said in the original post, it doesn’t make much sense to still be message testing at this point. Blair’s poll doesn’t jibe with a recent independent poll by Data for Progress.

The Blair campaign won’t share their polling data, feeling that they shouldn’t have to prove that something is false. They have a point and that’s why I am writing this post. The poll was done by a highly reputable polling firm. The Blair campaign is quite emphatic that the numbers they presented were the topline and not the post-message testing numbers.

As Hans Riemer’s campaign pointed out, the numbers presented by candidates often skew in their direction if only because candidates tend not to release unfavorable polls. Campaigns release information selectively, as the Blair campaign did, but everyone knows that.

More generally, doing good polling is getting more difficult. As is often said, the only poll that matters is the one at the ballot box.


Duchy Flip Flops on Labor

BethesdaNow’s Aaron Kraut wrote a fascinating story about Duchy Trachtenberg’s kickoff event.

Duchy apologized for her previously poor relations with labor:

“Guess what guys, your employees deserve competitive pay and benefits for the excellent job that they do each and every day,” Trachtenberg said in a message addressed at the police, firefighter and county employee union representatives in the audience. “I pledged my support for this and I sincerely regret the breakdown of our working relationship a few years back. It should never have happened, given my union roots, and I really feel badly that it did.”

Nothing like receiving an apology four years later when someone wants your support because they’re running again. Apparently, Duchy not only wants mend fences but also to be the tribune for labor on the Council:

“That should have never happened and it didn’t happen when I was on the Council,” Trachtenberg said. “It’s going to be the first thing that I do and it’s the right thing to do because effects bargaining, binding arbitration and adequate pay and workers’ benefits are all essential workers’ rights.”

Two years ago, County residents voted by 58% to uphold the County Council’s decision on effects bargaining. Labor has many good arguments to make centered around pay and benefits but reviving this one is just tactically misguided. Fighting over the police chief’s control over the police places the unions on much weaker grounds than in almost any other debate.

Duchy is also trying to perform Ten Mile Creek jujitsu–claiming credit for having laid the groundwork to protect the area while simultaneously attacking her opponent for efforts to protect it:

Trachtenberg mentioned Berliner only once, and not by name, while discussing her environmental protection credentials. She recently got support from a group of developers unhappy with Berliner’s support of a move to limit development near Ten Mile Creek in Clarksburg.

Trachtenberg claimed she had plenty of support among environmental activists, and said a water quality work group she started with former Councilmember Mike Knapp laid the groundwork for the Ten Mile Creek debate today.

And Duchy is very effective:

“Despite being accused of being bossy, and that happens often, or that I’m too quick to cut to the chase, I do get things done,” Trachtenberg said. “I’m very effective and I know I am. I’m not bragging. I know it.”

I don’t know many effective people who feel it necessary to go around and pronounce themselves effective quite so emphatically. They just get things done.

I guess her arguments were effective in at least one sense. I plan to vote to reelect Roger Berliner.