Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Does a Lack of Campaign Polls In the Indianapolis Mayor's Race Mean?

Democratic Mayoral Candidate
Melina Kennedy
Campaigns that raise and spend millions of dollars devote a significant portion of that money to polling.   Polls by these big-time campaigns are sometimes kept tight to the vest, while at other times released to help fundraising efforts, rally the troops, or for other strategic purposes.

Here we are less than three months away from the Indianapolis mayoral election and neither side has released polling information. The only hint there has been polling is Mayor Ballard supporter Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, who suggested that the Ballard people had polling showing him with a "double digit lead."  Double digits could mean 10 points, which frankly at this point would be a very poor lead by the Mayor.  Ballard needs to be up 20-25 points at this time.  His policies undoubtedly poll much, much worse than does the Mayor.  When the Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy and Democratic candidate Melina Kennedy start connecting Ballard with those unpopular policies, Ballard's numbers are going to sink like a rock.  Ballard needs a sizable lead to overcome that onslaught.

Mayor Greg Ballard
Why is neither the Ballard or Kennedy camp releasing poll numbers?  The obvious answer is that neither side is happy with the numbers.  Undoubtedly that "double digit" lead Abdul says Ballard has is not 20 points or more.  If it were it were 20 points or more, Abdul would have described it that way instead of "double digit."  The poll also would have likely been released to bolster Ballard's fundraising and dampen Kennedy's.   But if the poll shows a 10-15 point lead at this point, that would be a warning sign to Ballard's supporters and especially his financial backers. They would expect his lead to be bigger than that.

Kennedy, on the other hand, suffers from unrealistic expectations about her candidacy.  In solidly Democratic Marion County, many of her supporters expect her to easily win this race.  If she releases a poll showing Ballard with a 15 point lead or higher, then concern about her chances might increase so much as to dampen her fundraising and volunteer support.

Given Kennedy is running against an incumbent mayor who has rarely been challenged in 3 1/2 years, it is unrealistic to expect that she would be ahead or even close at this point.

Where is the polling less than three months out?  Well the lead is obviously not big enough for Ballard or small enough for Kennedy for those campaigns to release polling information.  My guess that means Ballard is up by 15 points.


IndyDem said...

Or that the polling has NOT been done.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Nah, I guarantee you polling has been done. Both those campaigns have plenty of cash. They would have definitely polled as part of the campaign.

guy77money said...

Actually my wife was called (it was by the Kennedy people) campaign Monday, but only answered a limited number of questions before she had to hang up and go pick up my son. Could be they are still in the process of calling voters.