Saturday, September 13, 2014

Not Such A Great Idea

Yesterday news broke that Rex Sinquefield was donating $2.5 million to one of his organizations, Grow Missouri.  Initially, the press release from Grow Missouri said that the funds would “in large part” go to help fund Speaker-designate John Diehl’s “100 Great Ideas” tour.


That immediately drew crackles and mocking in social media.  Sinquefield’s groups have spent extravagantly in the past – hundreds of thousands in House races or to try to override one veto for example.  But this was ridiculous.  How could you spend $2.5 million on what would be a few dozen town hall meetings?


Additionally there was bafflement.  What could Diehl possibly get out of this – except to appear tied to the “St. Louis billionaire.”  And what does Sinquefield get, doesn’t he already have “access?”


But the larger issue is the disconnect – between those in the bubble and the other 4 million Missourians.  In the bubble, it’s outrageous to suggest that a $2.5 million would somehow influence or determine an incoming speaker’s agenda.  Outrageous!   Outside the bubble, only a fool would think that $2.5 million doesn’t have that impact.


And that’s why ethics reform is necessary – lobbyists gifts and campaign contribution limits.  To restore some equilibrium between these two disparate world views.  The longer Republicans maintain their supermajority and live in the cra-cra money, dinners and tickets sloshing around the legislative process, the greater the risk that there is a cataclysmic scandal that swiftly displaces their majority.


Hours after the social media drubbing, Grow Missouri announced most of the money would actually be going towards campaign races, and then a bit after that, news reports said no money would go to Diehl, but would all support the 100 Ideas tour independently.


Inside the bubble, that makes everything kosher….


POLL: Senate 10

This week our exclusive MOScout poll looks at the Senate 10 race.  I thought it would be interesting because when folks about competitive races, sometimes they mention Senate 10, and just as often, they don’t.  And it’s quite possible that Democratic Party leaders will have to poll this race at some point and decide whether it’s going to get resources or not as a targeted race.  From the looks of this poll, Schieffer will be on his own.


One other side note, Senate 10 swings a lot depending on the cycle and the year.  According to the redistricting data, the district about a +12 Republican district.  But in the presidential cycle (and great Democratic year of 2008) it narrowed to +4 Republican district.  And in the non-presidential (and great Republican year of 2010) it ballooned to an insane +40 (not a typo) Republican district.

I did not give my pollster, Remington Research any guidance on the partisan balance for weighting the poll.  I think their weighting is reasonable, though may understate the Republican tilt this year.  They went +15 Republican.

The full crosstabs can be found in the Special Reports.  See it here.

Survey conducted September 11th through September 13th, 2014. 607 likely General Election voters participated in the survey. Survey weighted to match average demographics of the past four General Elections. Margin of Error is +/-3.97% with a 95% level of confidence. Totals do not always equal 100% due to rounding.


Q: The candidates for State Senate are Republican Jeanie Riddle and Democrat Ed Schieffer. If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?

Jeanie Riddle  55%

Ed Schieffer    32%

Undecided      12%


Q: Would you be more likely, or less likely to support a candidate who supports accepting federal dollars for Medicaid expansion?

More Likely    35%

Less Likely      40%

No Difference 25%


Q: Would you prefer to see lower taxes or fully funded education programs?

Lower Taxes   58%

Fully Funded Education         34%

No Opinion     9%


Q: What is your opinion of Jeanie Riddle?

Favorable        41%

Unfavorable    13%

No Opinion     46%


Q: What is your opinion of Ed Schieffer?

Favorable        31%

Unfavorable    21%

No Opinion     48%


Barnes on Veto Session

Rep. Jay Barnes pens some thoughts on the veto session.  See it here.

If you’re a student of the human condition, there aren’t many better laboratories than the General Assembly during veto session. You can observe just about every emotion – and every method of persuasion other than Chinese water-torture. (I will confess, however, that it sure seems like Chinese water-torture to listen to debate on a bill at 2 a.m. when everyone already knows how they’re going to vote on the bill anyway.)


On tightly-contested bills, there are several, if not dozens, of personal dramas playing out at the same time. When you know the basic plot-lines, it’s fascinating just to watch the body language. Everyone is watching everyone to see who is speaking to whom and whether they’re nodding their head in agreement, politely standing their ground, or preparing to mark off paces for a legislative duel. It’s representative democracy in action. It’s messy, orderly, ugly, and noble all at the same time. As Churchill said, it’s “the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  



KC Star’s Steve Kraske writes Governor Jay Nixon’s obituary.  Read it here.  Like all political obituaries, it’s premature.