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Political Strategy Notes

The Upshot's Nate Cohn presents compelling evidence from precinct and county data that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was not defeated by a wave of crossover Democrats.

GOP message guru Frank Luntz has a NYT op-ed, "Why Polling Fails: Republicans Couldn't Predict Eric Cantor's Loss" noting "Even if every scientific approach is applied perfectly, 5 percent of all polls will end up outside the margin of error...a poll is a useful tool for gaining insight and information, but it is only one arrow in the quiver. Without qualitative insight -- talking with voters face to face to judge their mood, emotion, intensity and opinion -- polls can be inconsequential, and occasionally wrong."

In their introduction launching a series on the U.S. elections at The Guardian Paul Lewis and Dan Roberts argue "US midterm elections: Republicans could triumph - but it's not a sure thing," and note that top forecasters Nate Silver, Larry J. Sabato and teams from WaPo and the NYT "essentially agree on the big question about control of the Senate: it is too close to call."

In the first installment of the Guardian series, "Political certainties beginning to fade in black-and-white Georgia As the US gears up for crucial midterm elections," Paul Lewis reports from Georgia, where Republicans are swimming against a changing demographic tide," the author notes: "If Perdue, 64, a gaffe-prone former CEO of Dollar General, secures his party's nomination, Democrats will paint him as a Mitt Romney-style plutocrat with a shady corporate history. It is a characterisation they hope will contrast with Nunn's commitment to public service...If Kingston, 59, who has represented a congressional district incorporating the city of Savannah since 1993, wins the runoff, Nunn's team will seek to characterise him as a Washington insider. Nunn, on the other hand, will claim to be an outsider, untarnished by the political fray."

U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus has reinstated early voting (three days in advance of elections) for all eligible voters in Ohio.

Crystal Shepeard's Care2 post "Single Women Will Make the Difference in the Midterm Elections" explains "...nearly a third of unmarried women are not registered to vote...unmarried women have had the largest increase in new eligible voters since the 2012 election with more than ten million new voters. Many of them are young and tend to not participate in large numbers in midterm elections. In 2012, if unmarried women voted in the same numbers as married women, the difference would have been an additional 6.5 million more votes cast.

NPR's Maria Liasson has explained "Unmarried women are the single most important demographic this year. But unlike other "it" demographics (remember soccer moms?), single women are not a constituency that's in play: They're extremely reliable Democratic supporters...Single women make up about 25 percent of the electorate, and they're growing fast as marriage rates decline. But while they are reliable supporters for the Democrats -- that is, when they vote -- they are not reliable voters: Between 2008 and 2010, the participation of unmarried women fell by about 20 points. And between 2012 and 2014, single women's participation is expected to drop off by about the same rate...So single women present Democrats with a turnout problem, not a persuasion problem." Liasson goes on to point out that the election of Terry McAuliffe as Governor of Virginia shows that it can be done, and NC is the best proving ground for the strategy ion 2014.

In another NPR post, "Easy On The Ears: GOP Ads Adapt To Reach Women Voters," Liasson shows that Republicans are running scared of single women and softening GOP ad messaging in hopes of neutralizing their strong Democratic tilt.

Oh, Hell yes.