So the stage is set for today's big showdown between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman for the democratic Senate primary in Connecticut....
Assuming you are not, as my friend Becki D says, a political wonk, here's a run down and why I think it is very interesting primary.
On one side, you have cable systems millionaire Ned Lamont who has been embraced by the liberal side of the democratic party for his anti-Iraq war message and sitting Senator Joe Lieberman. T
he latest numbers according to Quinnipiac by way of MSNBC, show the race in a statistical dead heat with Lamont leading Lieberman 51% to 45%. It also seems that Lieberman has been closing the gap. Why is this interesting? Because Kos Online Politics is Growing Up.
A while back when I wrote that post, I examined an article in the Wall Street Journal that showed how bloggers and moveon.org have embraced Lamont and turned their back on Lieberman. I also wrote how it takes more than just people showing up at a political rally by way of blogs to win an election.
And you know what? It still takes a lot more as witnessed by the closing gap. Not everyone is online or gets their news via the net, so you need to cover all of your bases. Heck, a certain segment of the voter population responds to TV ads and direct mail.
The recent Wall Street Journal article, In a Key Primary, Moveon's Revolt Divides Democrats, describes the process of how Moveon selected Lamont and the steps they've taken to rough up Lieberman.
As you read the article, it is clear that Moveon's activities and Lamont's millions have pushed Lieberman to the brink. However, two interesting facts in the article cast a little doubt on the outcome and their efforts and why it takes more than just bloggers to swing an election. According to the article, there are 50,000 Moveon.org members in Connecticut and about 10% cast a vote (5,000 for you non-calculus readers :-)) to decide who they should endorse. Lamont got 85% and Lieberman got 15%. Lieberman spokesperson Marion Steinfels said "he had as good a chance of being the next American Idol as he had of winning the Moveon primary."
You know why that is? Selection bias. It was an internet-only primary focused on Moveon.org members. Not exactly a random sample of voters. That's not to say that there was something wrong with what Moveon.org did, just putting it in perspective.
So why am I so interested? Staying away from pure politics, it is a chance to see if an online community can win a major election. Already, the blogosphere has forced Lieberman to get into action and go out and kiss a few babies and work the old school methods of winning an election.
If Lamont does win the primary, I'm sure it will force more campaigns to spend more money online, hopefully in the form of more advertising. I, of course, would be more than happy to see that happen.
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